The alleged killer of a popular local urologist--who had just entered an examination room in his Newport Beach medical facility when he was fatally shot multiple times in January 2013--has settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the victim's family. Lake Elsinore barber Stanwood Fred Elkus, 76, is still on the hook criminally for the murder of Dr. Ronald Franklin Gilbert, however.
Elkus, who surrendered himself to police in the examination room without incident, went on to try to transfer ownership of his eight homes and condominiums in Lake Forest, Huntington Beach and Lake Elsinore to his sister, in an attempt to shield assets the Orange County Register valued at $2 million.
Gilbert's family filed for an injunction in Orange County Superior Court to stop the transfers, which Judge David McEachen granted in April 2013. Attorney Edward Susolik, who represents Elizabeth Gilbert and her two sons with the slain physician, confirmed this week that Elkus agreed to hand over seven of his properties for an undisclosed sum to the family to settle the wrongful death claim.
The settlement was actually approved several months ago, but it wasn't until within the past month that all of the property was sold, Susolik explained to City News Service. "The reason we got such a favorable settlement was because we were able to get that injunction," he said. "There was nowhere he could go (legally) because he couldn't sell the properties. It was a very aggressive litigation move, but it was very successful."
It was a typical Monday afternoon on Jan. 28, 2013, when "Dr. Ron," as his staff, friends and patients knew him, lightly rapped on the examination-room door and entered to see a new patient in his Orange Coast Urology office in Newport Beach. But the elderly man allegedly fired eight rounds into the chest of Gilbert, who was likely dead before he hit the floor.
Elkus had apparently come to settle what he believed to be a botched prostate operation he underwent at a Veterans Administration hospital decades earlier. While Gilbert had worked at that VA facility, there was no record he performed the surgery. It's believed another urologist with a similar name treated Elkus, who had suffered prostate problems for years.
As Gilbert's friend and business partner Jeff Abraham later told me, the senseless slaying was also tragic because the physician was on the cusp of reaping praise and riches from a treatment he developed for premature ejaculation.
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The Gilbert family is happy that at least the civil case against Elkus is behind them.
"It gives them a certain sense of closure," Susolik told City News Service's Paul Anderson. "Nothing will ever bring back their loving husband and father, but at least they have some vindication that the defendant has been left penniless and is paying at least financially for his crimes."