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A Judge in Orange County is Accused of Killing His Wife by Shooting Her During a Fight, but He Pleads Not Guilty


Judge Jeffrey Ferguson of the Orange County Superior Court pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in downtown Los Angeles on Friday. He is accused of shooting and killing his wife during a fight in their home in Anaheim Hills last August.

Ferguson was told to go to court in Orange County, but his case is being heard in Los Angeles because he has ties to that court.

He is still free on bond. A meeting before the trial was set for September 20.

Ferguson is charged with murder and extra charges for using a gun for personal purposes and firing a gun at someone, which caused death. It is said that he killed his wife Sheryl at their home in Anaheim Hills on August 3, 2023.

Police from the Anaheim Police Department arrested Ferguson after getting a call about a shooting at his house in the 8500 block of East Canyon Vista Drive just after 8 p.m. on August 3. Anaheim Police Sgt. Jonathan McClintock said that when police went into the house, they found the judge’s wife, Sheryl Ferguson, 65, who had at least one gunshot wound.

At the scene of the crime, Sheryl Ferguson was declared dead.

Jeffrey Ferguson got bail the next day and was free to go.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Alex said in a move for bail last year that Ferguson had shot his wife “through the chest in the living room of their home in Anaheim.”

As the lawyer put it, the judge “pulled a loaded 40-caliber pistol from his ankle holster” and used it. He shot her very close. He did that while drunk. His adult son saw the murder happen.

To start the fight, Alex said, the couple fought over dinner at a place close to their home earlier that night.

A judge in Orange County Superior Court has been charged with murder for reportedly killing his wife during a fight. He will have to go to trial.

Alex said that Ferguson “pointed his finger at his wife in a way that looked like he was holding a gun.” The fight went on at home “periodically” for about an hour.

Sheryl Ferguson is said to have said, “words to the effect of: Why don’t you point a real gun at me?” in response to her husband’s shooting last minute, Alex said.

Alex said Ferguson “pulled his gun out of his ankle holster and shot his wife in the middle of the body.”

Both Ferguson’s son and the judge called 911. Someone called the judge and asked if he had shot his wife. The judge said he didn’t want to talk about that at the time, and when asked again, he said she needed rescuers, Alex said.

Alex said Ferguson then texted his court clerk and sheriff a few minutes later and said, “I just lost it.” I killed my wife. I’m not coming in tomorrow. I will be locked up. “I’m really sorry.”

Alex said that the clerk and bailiff thought he was kidding.

Body cameras on the police got Ferguson saying, “…well, I guess I’m done for a while… oh my God… my son… my son…” when they arrived. Ferguson “slurred words and smelled of alcohol.” I am truly sorry, I messed up… “Man, I can’t believe I did that,” Alex said.

Seven hours after the killing, Ferguson’s blood was taken by police, who found that he had a 0.06 blood alcohol level.

Alex said that his son told the cops that his dad gets more “heated” when he drinks and fights with his wife.

He “reported that, a few years prior, (Sheryl Ferguson) reported to him that the defendant had attempted suicide with a gun,” he said. The son also said that Ferguson fired a gun while he was by himself in a bathroom at home another time.

Alex said that the son did not see the shot and told the police that it was an accident.

Kevin and Phillip Ferguson are their two grown kids.

Jeff Ferguson was born in Oakland and graduated from UC Irvine in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and social ecology. He graduated from Western State College of Law with a law degree in 1982. The next year, he started working as a lawyer in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, where he later rose to become a senior prosecutor on the Major Narcotics Enforcement Team.

From 2012 to 2014, he was the lead of the North Orange County Bar Association. Four times, the Orange County Narcotics Officers Association named him prosecutor of the year. In 2015, he was made a judge.

The state Commission on Judicial Performance scolded him in 2017 for what he said on Facebook about a prosecutor who was running for judge and for being “friends” with three defense lawyers whose cases were before him.

Before she became a full-time mom, Sheryl Ferguson worked for almost 20 years for the American Funds Service Company and the probation offices in Santa Barbara and Orange County. “Very, very active in the community,” her brother said, adding that she was in the Boy Scouts.


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