Stanford admissions employee charged in LSD stabbing of girlfriend

A Stanford admissions official was arrested Sunday on suspicion of attempted murder in a domestic violence case.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

An assistant director of admissions at Stanford University was charged this week with attempted homicide after allegedly attacking his girlfriend with a knife while on LSD.

James Shirvell, 26, was arrested Sunday after police responded to a call in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, Officer Robert Rueca said.

Two witnesses heard a woman yelling for help across the street and found her on the stairs to a home, bleeding profusely, prosecutors said in court records. Officers entered the home and found Shirvell lying on the kitchen floor, covered in blood.

The woman was taken to a hospital, where she told an officer what happened after she and Shirvell, whom she’s been dating for 18 months, decided to take the hallucinogen, the filing said.


After he ingested the drug, Shirvell began urinating on the carpet, the filing said. The woman had him lie down in a bedroom while she went to get water. But he went to the kitchen, grabbed an 8-inch butcher knife and began stabbing her repeatedly. She broke free and called for help.

Shirvell is being held without bail, according to jail records. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Shirvell pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted murder, one count of domestic violence and two counts of assault, said Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the San Francisco district attorney’s office.

The victim is expected to survive, he added. She had a collapsed lung and had to undergo emergency surgery, according to court documents. She also had multiple wounds, including on her face, scalp, back and shoulder.


Shirvell, who has worked at the university since October 2016, was placed on leave and “will not be coming to campus or performing any admissions work,” said E.J. Miranda, a Stanford spokesman. “We are continuing to gather information on this matter to inform next steps.”

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