It only took a day for a jury to convict a man who killed his former urologist in Newport Beach in 2013. Now they will need to decide whether the man was sane at the time.
According to the Orange County Register, Stanwood Fred Elkus, a former barber from Cleveland, walked into Ronald Gilbert’s exam room and shot him 10 times after nursing a two-decade grudge over a procedure he underwent at the VA Long Beach Hospital in 1992. Gilbert, who was a resident there at the time, diagnosed Elkus with a narrowing of the urethra and recommended surgery.
Though Gilbert himself did not perform the surgery, Elkus apparently blamed him for postsurgical issues stemming from prostate damage, including incontinence and erectile dysfunction, as well as the ultimate failure of a long-term relationship, the LA Times reports.
Colleen O’Hara, Elkus’ defense attorney, argued during the trial that a combination of dementia, severe brain damage and antidepressant use caused her client to enter an altered, psychotic state.
“A person operating within his own reality does not always know the difference between right and wrong,” she told the jury.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy painted a different picture, however, describing a man nursing a long-term grudge who made detailed plans, ordered his affairs, and practiced shooting a .45-caliber handgun to prepare for the crime.
Whether eventually found insane or not, the shooting adds another data point to a troubling string of violent incidents, including a case in Indiana where a doctor refused to prescribe opioids to a patient and was subsequently shot by the patient’s husband. In another recent incident at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, a former physician killed one person and injured six before committing suicide.
Hospitals have responded to the rise in violent incidents by beefing up security to the tune of $2.7 billion in 2016 alone, according to an American Hospital Association report.