Chiropractor Stephen Shaw testified Monday that he was “freaked out” and “scared” when he found himself standing next to a 60-year-old man who had allegedly argued with Shaw’s wife minutes before at a Las Vegas car wash.
Shaw told Las Vegas police that fear is why he shoved Lawrence Weiss on March 11, 2005, according to his voluntary statement read in court on Monday. Weiss, a retired music executive, died two days later.
Shaw, 39, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death and received five years of probation. The Weiss family filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Shaw for an unspecified amount of money.
During Monday’s District Court civil trial, Weiss’ wife, Sheri Weiss, dabbed tears as attorney Donald Campbell showed jurors a photo of Weiss.
“On March 13 … Larry Weiss was declared brain dead,” said Campbell, as a photo of Weiss with black, swollen eyes and a gash that stretched from his forehead to his chin flashed on a screen. “She walked into his room and kissed her husband of 30 years goodbye for the last time.”
The only issue both sides agree on is that there was a traffic incident between Shaw’s wife, Raquel Shaw, and Weiss moments before the two had a discussion at Fabulous Freddy’s Car Wash at Fort Apache Road and Charleston Boulevard.
Campbell, who represents the Weiss family, said Weiss approached Raquel Shaw while she sat in her car at a smog check about 3:30 p.m. The two argued about whether Shaw cut off Weiss in her BMW sport utility vehicle. Campbell said the man conducting the smog check heard Shaw screaming, but could not hear Weiss.
Stephen Shaw’s attorney, Brent Percival, said other witnesses saw Weiss with his head in the woman’s vehicle and said he was using “vile” language with her and her two young children. That is when she placed a frantic phone call to her husband for help.
Percival said Shaw sped to the scene, staying on the phone with his wife most of the way.
“He wanted to make sure she was alive when she got there,” Percival said.
At the intersection, Shaw jumped out of his vehicle, ripped off his dress shirt and ran to the car wash in his undershirt.
Campbell said Shaw spoke with his wife, ran into the convenience store and re-emerged when he could not find Weiss. Shaw called his wife by cell phone and she said Weiss was standing next to him.
“Who the (expletive) do you think you are?” Campbell said Shaw screamed. The former UNLV football player and martial arts student then shoved Weiss, sending him 15 feet into a steel cage holding propane tanks, Campbell said.
Clark County District Judge Michelle Leavitt was at the car wash, Campbell said, and watched Shaw walk over to a bleeding Weiss and continue to taunt him.
After the incident, Shaw left the scene and his wife stayed and received a car wash. Campbell said Shaw later returned and told several officers on scene that he often treated Las Vegas law enforcement at his office.
When Shaw took the stand Monday, Campbell questioned why Shaw didn’t at least call the officers with whom he was acquainted if he feared his wife’s life was in danger.
“Because Mr. Shaw didn’t want to be stopped by police when he confronted Mr. Weiss,” Campbell said.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at email@example.com or 702-384-8710.