A California judge who was apprehended last week now faces charges of fatally shooting his wife before their adult son in their Anaheim residence. According to court records, the judge, who had amassed a collection of over 47 firearms and 26,000 rounds of ammunition in his home, allegedly used a .40-caliber pistol from his ankle holster to shoot his wife, Sheryl Ferguson, in the chest during an argument in the living room.
Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, aged 72, is facing specific allegations, including one charge of felony murder. These accusations also encompass additional legal aspects, such as a felony enhancement related to his personal use of a firearm. Another layer to the charges involves a felony enhancement attributed to his discharge of a firearm, which resulted in causing severe bodily harm and ultimately led to loss of life.
In the event that he is convicted on all counts, he could potentially be handed a sentencing ranging from 40 years to life imprisonment. Notably, he has already managed to post bail, the sum of which stands at $1,000,000. As a result, he has been granted temporary release, and his next legal proceeding is set for September 1.
In line with details outlined in official court records, the prosecution asserts that Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, while under the influence of alcohol, shot his wife at close proximity. The tragic incident appears to have its origins in an earlier altercation that took place during a dinner engagement close to their place of residence. This information is duly noted in the legal documentation.
These records further highlight that during the course of the dinner, the judge seemingly replicated the act of pointing a finger at his wife, employing a gesture that strikingly resembled the handling of a firearm
“Upon returning to their residence, the couple, still in the company of son, resumed arguing periodically over the course of more than an hour. Moments prior to the shooting and in reference to the hand gesture made at dinner, [the] victim uttered words to the effect of: ‘why don’t you point a real gun at me?'” according to court records.
Judge Jeffrey Ferguson then allegedly “retrieved his pistol from his ankle holster and shot [the] center mass,” prosecutors alleged in filings.
Their son then called 911 and reported that his father was drinking too much and that after an argument, “his dad shot his mother,” according to filings.
The son tried to stabilize his mother along with paramedics but they were unsuccessful, according to filings.
Within minutes of the murder, Jeffrey Ferguson then allegedly sent a text to his court clerk and bailiff that 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,” according to court records.
Upon their return to the residence, the couple, still accompanied by their son, resumed sporadic arguments that persisted for over an hour. Just moments prior to the tragic shooting, and in relation to the hand gesture from dinner, the victim allegedly uttered words along the lines of: “Why don’t you aim a real gun at me?” These details have been sourced from court records.
According to the prosecutors’ statements, Jeffrey Ferguson then purportedly proceeded to “retrieve his pistol from his ankle holster and discharged it into the victim’s center mass.”
In the aftermath of the incident, their son immediately dialed 911 and informed the authorities that his father had been drinking heavily and had shot his mother following an argument. He also endeavored, alongside paramedics, to stabilize his mother’s condition. Regrettably, their efforts proved futile, as outlined in the official records.
Shortly after the tragic event, Jeffrey Ferguson allegedly sent text messages to both his court clerk and bailiff, reading: “I lost control. I shot my wife. I won’t be available tomorrow. I expect to be in custody. I am profoundly sorry,” as indicated in the court documents.
As per the prosecutors’ account, Judge Jeffrey Ferguson purportedly beseeched the responding patrol officers to use lethal force on him, displaying slurred speech indicative of alcohol consumption. Furthermore, he reportedly volunteered unsolicited statements that acknowledged his responsibility for the incident, all of which have been duly documented.
According to prosecutors, Judge Jeffrey Ferguson allegedly asked patrol officers to shoot him and was slurring words while smelling of alcohol. He also made spontaneous statements and remarks “acknowledging culpability,” according to records.
After conducting a thorough search of the premises, it was uncovered that the judge’s residence contained a total of 47 firearms, all legally owned. These firearms encompassed various types including rifles, shotguns, and handguns. Court records also indicated the discovery of an extensive stockpile exceeding 26,000 rounds of ammunition within the residence. Additionally, subsequent to the search, an extra firearm was located on the premises and was appropriately secured under the supervision of the defense counsel.
It’s important to note that there exists another firearm, a .22-caliber rifle, registered under the name of Jeffrey Ferguson. However, the current whereabouts of this specific firearm remain undisclosed. Despite coordinated efforts from both the defense counsel and law enforcement, their attempts to locate the rifle have thus far proven unfruitful, as explicitly outlined within the court documentation.
The firearm alleged to have been used in the tragic incident is identified as a Glock .40 pistol. This particular weapon, alongside a recovered casing from the floor, was retrieved from the scene, in accordance with the contents of the official documents. The trajectory of the discharged bullet pierced through Sheryl Ferguson’s chest and subsequently exited through her back, penetrating a wall positioned behind her.
Approximately seven hours following the incident, a blood sample was procured from the judge. The analysis of this blood sample indicated a blood alcohol concentration of 0.06 at the time of collection, as verifiable within the official court records.
Furthermore, in conversations with investigators, the couple’s son conveyed that he had never witnessed any occurrences of domestic violence between his parents before the incident. Nevertheless, he did disclose observing numerous arguments and pointed out that Judge Jeffrey Ferguson tended to exhibit heightened intensity during these disagreements, particularly when alcohol was involved. These observations were meticulously recorded within the court records.
Additionally, the son recounted an incident from several years prior in which his mother revealed that Jeffrey Ferguson had allegedly made a threat of suicide while holding a firearm to his own head. Fortunately, she was successful in preventing any harm. Records also reveal an isolated incident wherein a firearm was discharged while Jeffrey Ferguson was alone in the bathroom. As per the son’s understanding, this discharge was accidental in nature, as indicated by the documented records
Ferguson had served as a Superior Court judge since 2015. Prior to this role, he worked as a deputy district attorney at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for a period exceeding 30 years, as stated by the prosecutors.
The conditions for Ferguson’s bail are notably comprehensive. They encompass the surrendering of his passport, a prohibition on possessing firearms or any form of ammunition, and the revocation of his concealed carry permit. Additionally, the prosecutors have made a request for Ferguson to agree to be subjected to searches and seizures. This entails wearing an ankle bracelet, refraining from alcohol consumption, and confining his location to Orange County, Riverside County, or Los Angeles County.