75-year-old suspect claims slain Orange County doctor botched his surgery

Medical Building Shooting

HOPD/AP

This photo released Tue. Jan. 29, 2013 by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department showing Stanwood Fred Elkus, 75, of Lake Elsinore who was arrested Monday, Jan. 28,2013, suspected of killing Dr. Ronald Franklin Gilbert, 52, of Huntington Beach at the medical office in Orange County on Monday Jan. 28,2013.

Medical Building Shooting

/AP

This image provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Ronald Franklin Gilbert, 52, of Huntington Beach, calif., who was shot and killed by a 75-year-old retired barber, Stanwood Fred Elkus, on Jan. 28, 2013 at his office in Newport Beach, Calif. The retired barber accused of the shooting Gilbert to death in his exam room suffered from prostate problems and was angry about his incontinence after a recent surgery, neighbors said.


A 75-year-old man accused of gunning down an Orange County doctor said in a jailhouse interview that he was angry about a botched surgery, but a family lawyer said the slain urologist never treated the suspect.

"I'll admit, what I did was a terrible thing," Stanwood Elkus told the Los Angeles Times during visiting hours at a jail in Orange.

Elkus didn't elaborate much further in the 10-minute interview, beyond saying he has had prostate problems and has needed psychiatric counseling ever since a botched surgery 21 years ago.

Elkus has pleaded not guilty to lying in wait before killing Gilbert on Jan. 28 at a Newport Beach medical facility. The 52-year-old doctor was shot multiple times in the upper body at his office.

Gilbert family attorney Ed Susolik said the urologist worked at the hospital where Elkus had surgery, but Gilbert didn't actually perform the surgery.

"My understanding is that Elkus came to the VA when Dr. Gilbert was practicing there, but that Dr. Gilbert did not actually perform the surgery there," Susolik told the Times. "Some other associate doctor performed the procedure."

Susolik represents the Gilbert family in their wrongful death and fraud suit against Elkus. A judge has frozen Elkus' assets to prevent him from transferring them to relatives.

Elkus also complained to the Times that former neighbors badmouthed him in the media after he was publicly identified as a suspect in the shooting death.

Elkus had appeared at the office seeking an appointment earlier this year, though it was not clear with which of the three doctors who worked at the Orange Coast Urology Group, prosecutors have said.

Elkus was told he could be squeezed into Gilbert's schedule and waited in the exam room, opening fire when the doctor walked in. He was then arrested quietly, after handing the gun to another staff member, authorities said.

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