Victim’s sister wants chiropractor disciplined

An Idaho woman is seeking disciplinary action against the Las Vegas chiropractor who caused her brother’s death two years ago by shoving him during an argument.

Linda Edwards filed a complaint this week with the Chiropractic Physicians’ Board of Nevada.

The complaint claims disciplinary action is warranted against Stephen B. Shaw because he has engaged in unprofessional conduct.

In an interview with the Review-Journal, Edwards said Shaw’s license should be revoked.

“I don’t begrudge him the right to make a living,” the woman said. “I don’t think it should be as a chiropractor. I don’t think it should be in the field of medicine.”

Reached at his office Friday, Shaw declined to comment on Edwards’ complaint. “We’ll leave it all up to the board,” he said.

The 38-year-old chiropractor pleaded guilty in March to involuntary manslaughter, a felony, for causing the death of 60-year-old Lawrence Weiss, a retired record company executive.

Shaw entered a type of guilty plea that required him to admit only that prosecutors could prove their case against him.

Shaw originally faced a charge of second-degree murder, but District Judge Donald Mosley dismissed the charge in November 2005. Last week the judge sentenced Shaw to five years probation.

Cindy Wade, executive director of the Chiropractic Physicians’ Board, said she would have filed a complaint against Shaw if Edwards had not. According to Nevada law governing chiropractors, the record of a felony conviction “is conclusive evidence of unprofessional conduct.”

If the board determines that Edwards’ complaint merits action, Wade said, the board will file a formal complaint against Shaw and schedule a public hearing.

Shaw must be given at least 30 days notice of the hearing, she said.

Wade said Shaw has been licensed in Nevada since 1997 and has no discipline on his record. If the board finds that he engaged in unprofessional conduct, his discipline could range from a public reprimand to license revocation.

“It is totally up to the board to decide where they want to go with this,” Wade said.

Attorney John Hunt, who is representing Shaw in the administrative proceedings, said his client should be allowed to continue working as a chiropractor.

“Dr. Shaw has absolutely zero history regarding any violence in his life,” Hunt said. “Dr. Shaw has never had so much as a ticket, to the best of my knowledge. The tragic event that occurred, occurred as a result of the actions that were taken by Mr. Weiss.”

The encounter between Shaw and Weiss occurred on March 11, 2005, at Fabulous Freddy’s car wash and gas station at Fort Apache Road and Charleston Boulevard.

Shaw came to the location after receiving a call from his wife.

Witnesses told police that Weiss had an argument with the woman and believed she had cut him off on the road before entering the gas station.

She called her husband after Weiss walked away from her.

“I received a phone call on that day, and my wife was crying and screaming for help,” Shaw said at his sentencing hearing.

He said he acted out of fear when he pushed Weiss, who was looking at his wife and children, and never dreamed the act would end the man’s life.

“I truly thought my family was in danger that day, and I’m sorry,” the sobbing defendant told Mosley.

Weiss fell and suffered multiple skull fractures. He died two days later at University Medical Center.

As the injured victim lay on the ground at Fabulous Freddy’s, a witness has testified, Shaw stood over him and said, “I will (expletive) you up. Don’t (expletive) with me.” Shaw then left the scene and went home.

Edwards, 60, lives in Ketchum, Idaho. Weiss, who lived in Las Vegas with his wife, was her only sibling.

“I do not believe that someone who becomes so enraged that he shoves a man 25 years older, 35 pounds lighter and 5 inches shorter so hard that he is propelled off the ground should be permitted to practice as a chiropractor,” Edwards said.

The victim’s wife, Sheri, is pursuing a lawsuit against the Shaws and Fabulous Freddy’s.

A trial in the civil case is scheduled for Oct. 30.

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