A man charged with killing a Newport Beach doctor told an Orange County Superior Court judge Wednesday that he needs a public defender.

"I can't afford a lawyer," Stanwood Fred Elkus said.

Judge Craig Robison delayed the scheduled arraignment on murder charges to March 1 so that Elkus can prepare with a public defender.

Elkus, 75, stands accused of gunning down Dr. Ronald Gilbert, 52, in an examination room in a medical complex near Hoag Hospital on Monday.

During proceedings in the Santa Ana courtroom, Elkus kept his hands in his pockets of his Orange County Jail jumpsuit and seemed in a daze when he addressed the court. He spoke loudly when answering questions.

Elkus, who lives in Lake Elsinore, is accused of waiting for and killing Gilbert when he entered the exam room at 520 Superior Ave., according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Elkus faces one felony count of special circumstance murder for lying in wait with a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a firearm causing death, according to prosecutors.

If convicted, he faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Elkus was being held without bail Wednesday.

Prosecutors said other doctors ran to Gilbert's aid after the shooting, but were unable to revive him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. Elkus gave up the handgun to a staff member in the medical office, and surrendered to police without incident, according to the D.A.'s office.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

 

Twitter: @lawilliams30