Judge blocks accused killer from transferring property

An Orange County Superior Court judge on Tuesday prohibited a man accused of killing a Newport Beach doctor from transferring ownership of his property to relatives, according to an attorney for the victim's family.

Stanwood Elkus, 75, of Lake Elsinore, stands accused of killing Ronald Gilbert, 52, of Huntington Harbour, in the doctor's Hoag Hospital-affiliated office on Superior Avenue in January.

Gilbert's wife of 23 years, Elizabeth Gilbert, and his two sons won a temporary restraining order against Elkus on April 4 after filing a wrongful-death claim and accusing him of defrauding them by giving seven of his eight properties to his sister, according to Edward Susolik, the Gilbert family's attorney.

During a preceeding in Santa Ana, the judge converted the restraining order into a preliminary injunction.

Now all seven properties — in Huntington Beach, Lake Forest, Lake Elsinore and Wildomar — have been frozen and cannot be sold, Susolik said. The value of the eight properties in Orange and Riverside counties is about $3 million.

Susolik, of the Orange County-based Callahan & Blaine litigation firm, said he plans Wednesday to name Elkus' sister as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Elkus tried to give his Huntington Beach condominium to a couple, possibly relatives, on Feb. 7, according to a report on Patch.com.

Susolik said the would-be recipients knew that Elkus was suspected in the killing of Gilbert, and "they knew that they were defrauding the Gilbert family by taking the properties from defendant Elkus."

The family's wrongful-death claim, filed March 28, said a nurse took Elkus' vital signs in an examination room and left before Gilbert entered.

When Gilbert's partner entered the room, Elkus said he had shot the doctor and that he was insane, according to the suit.

The suspect stayed in the exam room, where police arrested him and paramedics pronounced Gilbert dead, authorities said.

Elkus pleaded not guilty last month to one felony count of murder with sentencing enhancements for personal use of a firearm and lying in wait. He is next expected in court for a preliminary hearing June 6.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Elkus had pleaded guilty last month to murder.

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