A man accused of killing a Newport Beach doctor told the Daily Pilot Friday that he was angry about the after effects of surgery performed on him about 21 years ago.
"I'll admit, what I did was a terrible thing," Stanwood Elkus, 75, said during visiting hours at the Theo Lacy Facility, a jail in Orange.
Elkus didn't specify to which "thing" he was referring during a rambling, largely one-sided interview that spanned about 10 minutes. But he has pleaded not guilty to lying in wait before shooting and killing Dr. Ronald Gilbert, 52, on Jan. 28 in a medical building exam room off Superior Avenue.
Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and speaking on a phone behind glass, Elkus said he was aggrieved over prostate surgery he claims Gilbert performed on him at an unspecified Veterans Affairs hospital.
Elkus said he has since had prostate problems and has had to seek psychiatric counseling ever since then as a result.
However, an attorney representing the Gilbert family in civil court said the late urologist never treated Elkus, however, the procedure he described was possibly performed by an associate at the VA.
"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," attorney Ed Susolik said. "Some other associate doctor performed the procedure."
A doctor with a similar name also worked at the VA at the same time as Gilbert, and Elkus may have confused them so many years after the surgery, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation who requested anonymity.
Therefore, Susolik said, "This concept of Elkus holding a grudge is the very definition of insanity."
Susolik is representing the Gilbert family in wrongful death and fraud claims filed against Elkus. A judge recently sided with his request to freeze Elkus's assets to prevent him from transferring them to relatives.
Angry about coverage
During his interview with the Pilot, Elkus said he was unfairly portrayed by his former neighbors in various media reports.
He was particularly bothered by newspaper stories on a dispute with a neighbor that he said didn't properly characterize a neighbor's decision to tear out his beloved oleanders.
He also disputed the same neighbor's claim that in 2006 he threatened her dog and "incessantly" called her.
"What stands out is his personality was quite unusual, and the things that he was accused of [were] quite unusual," said attorney David Mayberry, who represented the neighbors in the case, which went to mediation. Elkus was "very, very unyielding."
Elkus said little else. He didn't address any other topics in the interview with the Pilot, complaining that the time spent with a reporter was keeping him from breakfast.
"I am missing canteen for this," he said.