A man accused of killing a Newport Beach doctor said in a jailhouse interview Friday that he was angry about the aftereffects 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.
He didn’t specify what “thing” he was referring to during the 10-minute interview. But he has pleaded not guilty to lying in wait before shooting Dr. Ronald Gilbert, 52, on Jan. 28 in a medical building exam room off Superior Avenue.
Elkus, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and speaking on a phone behind glass, said he was aggrieved over prostate surgery he claims Gilbert performed on him at an unspecified Veterans Affairs hospital.
Elkus said he has 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.
“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’ assets to prevent him from transferring them to relatives.
During the interview, Elkus said he was unfairly portrayed by his former neighbors in various media reports, including one neighbor’s claim that he threatened her dog and called her repeatedly.
“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 in his interview, complaining that the time spent with a reporter was keeping him from breakfast.
“I am missing canteen for this,” he said.