SANTA ANA, Calif. — A judge from Southern California who has been accused of killing his wife reportedly sent text messages to his court clerk and bailiff immediately after the incident, stating that he had shot her. Prosecutors have now charged him with murder and are seeking revised bail conditions.
According to the prosecution’s court filing, Jeffrey Ferguson, a judge in Orange County Superior Court, texted the following message: “I lost control. I shot my wife. I won’t be at work tomorrow. I’ll be in custody. I apologize.”
Prosecutors also revealed that a search of his residence uncovered 47 firearms and over 26,000 rounds of ammunition, including the handgun used in the shooting. Officials confirmed that these weapons were legally owned. However, a registered rifle linked to him is currently unaccounted for, as per the district attorney’s office.
The tragic incident took place following an argument between Ferguson and his wife, Sheryl Ferguson, at a restaurant on August 3rd. The altercation continued once they returned to their home in the upscale neighborhood of Anaheim Hills.
As stated in the court document, the wife made a comment along the lines of “why not aim a real gun at me?” to which he responded by pulling a pistol from an ankle holster and shooting her in the chest.
In the aftermath of the shooting, their adult son dialed 911, informing them that his father had been excessively drinking and had shot his mother. Jeffrey Ferguson also contacted 911, providing a vague account of the incident. When questioned if he had shot his wife, he declined to discuss it at that moment and requested medical assistance for her.
Upon the arrival of law enforcement, Ferguson emitted a strong smell of alcohol and uttered the words, “I can’t believe I did this,” according to the document.
The 72-year-old Ferguson was taken into custody last week but was released the following day after posting a $1 million bail. His arraignment is scheduled for September 1st.
Prosecutors have now officially charged Ferguson with murder, accompanied by enhancements related to the use of weapons. They are requesting that he surrenders his passport, wears an ankle monitoring device, and refrains from possessing alcohol or firearms.
Ferguson’s legal representatives, Paul Meyer and John Barnett, released a brief statement and chose not to address any queries. They stated, “This is a tragic situation for the entire Ferguson family. It was an unfortunate accident and nothing more.”
Ferguson has been serving as a judge since 2015, overseeing criminal cases in Fullerton, Orange County. He initiated his legal career at the Orange County district attorney’s office in 1983 and gained recognition for his work on narcotics cases. He even received multiple awards for his efforts. From 2012 to 2014, he held the position of president in the North Orange County Bar Association.
In 2017, Ferguson faced admonishment from the Commission on Judicial Performance due to a Facebook post he made about a judicial candidate that exhibited disregard for the truth and for being Facebook friends with attorneys who appeared before him in court.
Ferguson revealed on his Facebook page that he grew up in a military family and had the opportunity to travel extensively across Asia during his childhood. He pursued higher education in California and married his wife in 1996.