A judge in Southern California has been accused of killing his wife. Prosecutors have charged 72-year-old Jeffrey Ferguson, a judge in Orange County Superior Court, with murder and weapon possession. The arrest came after police officers found Ferguson’s 65-year-old wife, Sheryl Ferguson, dead from a gunshot wound inside their home in Anaheim. According to the criminal complaint, Ferguson is also charged with personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death, as well as personal use of a firearm. California’s Constitution states that a judge charged with a felony is disqualified from acting as a judge, and a judge convicted of a felony will be removed from office.
The shooting occurred after an argument between the Fergusons at a restaurant, which continued at their home. According to court documents, during dinner, Judge Ferguson pretended to shoot his wife with his fingers, and at home, Mrs. Ferguson sarcastically asked him to point a real gun at her. Shortly after, Judge Ferguson pulled a pistol from an ankle holster and shot her in the chest at close range. The couple’s adult son, who was present during the incident, called 911 and reported that his father had been drinking excessively and shot his mother. Judge Ferguson also called 911 and requested an ambulance but avoided answering the question about shooting his wife.
After the shooting, Ferguson texted his court clerk and bailiff, admitting to the killing and stating that he won’t be at work the next day. When officers arrived at the scene, they found Mrs. Ferguson dead in the living room. Ferguson smelled of alcohol, and he was still wearing the empty ankle holster. He expressed remorse to the officers, claiming he couldn’t believe he had done it. During a search of Ferguson’s home, prosecutors found 47 weapons, including the murder weapon, and over 26,000 rounds of ammunition. Although the weapons were legally owned, one rifle registered in his name was missing.
Upon his arrest, Ferguson posted a $1 million bail. However, prosecutors are now seeking additional conditions, such as surrendering his passport, wearing an ankle monitor, and restricting contact with his son who witnessed the crime. Ferguson’s lawyers, Paul Meyer and John Barnett, released a statement calling the incident a tragedy for the entire Ferguson family. They claim that it was an accident and nothing more. Prior to the incident, Ferguson had been an established member of Orange County’s legal community, having received his law degree in 1982 and later serving as a Superior Court judge in 2014. However, his career was tarnished by admonishments from the California Commission on Judicial Performance, including posting false statements on Facebook and being friends with attorneys appearing before him in court.
In conclusion, a judge from Southern California has been charged with the murder of his wife. Prosecutors are moving forward with the case, presenting evidence that includes Ferguson’s admission of guilt through text messages and the discovery of multiple weapons in his home. The tragic incident occurred after an argument between the couple, resulting in a fatal gunshot wound. The legal consequences of his charges may lead to his removal from the bench.