NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) — A man accused of killing a Newport Beach doctor pleaded not guilty to murder Friday in Orange County Superior Court.
Stanwood Elkus, 75, of Lake Elsinore, is accused of shooting and killing Dr. Robert Gilbert in an exam room.
Elkus, a retired barber, is also charged with a felony special circumstance of murder by lying in wait, with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm causing death.
If convicted, Elkus faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. He is being held without bail.
The deadly shooting happened on January 28 at Gilbert’s medical practice, Orange Coast Urology, at the Hoag Medical Group building.
Police say Gilbert, who would have turned 53 just days later, was shot six to seven times in the upper torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, Elkus made an appointment with the doctor, waited in the exam room and then killed him.
After shooting the doctor, prosecutors say Elkus handed the gun to office staff and waited for police. He surrendered without incident.
Family members who spoke exclusively to KTLA said that Elkus was bitter over issues with his prostate.
“Approximately 20 years ago, he had a procedure done, and the doctor — the urologist — apparently nicked his prostate,” said one close relative, who did not want to be identified.
“He wouldn’t have sex. He’d have to go to the bathroom seven, eight times a night. He’d have to use a catheter,” the relative explained.
“It was an unbelievable inconvenience for him, and he’s been very angry, you know, hostile,” he added.
Elkus was described by his family as frugal, politically opinionated and a gun enthusiast who enjoyed hunting and fishing.
But they also said that he was a gentle man, who they didn’t think was capable of violence.
That is, until they say he called them and admitted that he had shot and killed Dr. Gilbert.
“He indicated very calmly that he had shot a man and that he was going to jail,” the relative told KTLA.
Neighbors told similar stories about Elkus’ ongoing medical problems.
“He was always complaining of being sick and going to the doctor and stuff like that. He had prostate problems,” neighbor Sherry Martin said.
“I know he didn’t like his doctor becasue of his prostate problem,” said another neighbor, James Lord. “He was always going there every weekend or once a month or something.”
Gilbert, a married father of two teenage boys, was a graduate of UCI College of Medicine in 1987.
He had been a practicing physician and surgeon since 1989, according to the California Medical Board.