California judge who’s charged with murder texted court staff that he shot his wife, prosecutors say
Aug 11, 2023, 9:07 AM | Updated: 9:46 am
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors say a Southern California judge accused of killing his wife had texted his court clerk and bailiff afterward to say he had shot her.
A court filing seeking new bail conditions for Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson say his text said: “I just lost it. I just shot my wife. I won’t be in tomorrow. I will be in custody. I’m so sorry.” He was charged Friday with murder. Authorities say 47 weapons were seized from his home.
Prosecutors say Ferguson and his wife had been arguing at a restaurant on Aug. 3. They continued arguing after returning home. The court document says the wife said something to the effect of “why don’t you point a real gun at me?” and he pulled a pistol from his ankle holster and shot her in the chest.
The document says their adult son called 911 and said his father had been drinking too much and shot his mom.
Ferguson also called 911 to vaguely report the shooting.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California judge was charged Friday with murder in the shooting death of his wife and 47 weapons were seized from the house, authorities said.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, 72, was arrested last week after his adult son called 911 to report his mother, Sheryl Ferguson, had been shot at the family’s home in the upscale neighborhood of Anaheim Hills, the district attorney’s office said in a statement. He was released a day later on $1 million bail.
Prosecutors want additional bail conditions because authorities recovered 47 weapons and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition during a search of his home. A rifle registered in his name is not accounted for, the statement said.
They want Ferguson to surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor.
Ferguson’s attorneys, Paul Meyer and John Barnett, issued a brief statement and declined to answer questions. “This is a tragedy for the entire Ferguson family. It was an accident and nothing more,” they said.
Ferguson has been a judge since 2015. He handles criminal cases in the Orange County city of Fullerton.
He started his legal career in the Orange County district attorney’s office in 1983 and went on to work narcotics cases, for which he won various awards. He served as president of the North Orange County Bar Association from 2012 to 2014
In 2017, Ferguson was admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance for posting a statement on Facebook about a judicial candidate “with knowing or reckless disregard for the truth of the statement” and for being Facebook friends with attorneys appearing before him in court, according to a copy of the agency’s findings.