A California Superior Court judge arrested last week has now been charged with killing his wife in front of their adult son at their home. Court filings reveal the judge had over 47 weapons and 26,000 rounds of ammunition in his home.
Ferguson allegedly shot his wife, Sheryl Ferguson, through the chest in the living room of their Anaheim home in front of their adult son using a .40-caliber pistol he pulled from his ankle holster amid an argument, according to court records.
Jeffrey Ferguson, 72, has been charged with one felony count of murder, one felony enhancement of personal use of a firearm and one felony enhancement of discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death.
He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life if convicted on all counts. He posted $1,000,000 in bail and has been released until his arraignment on Sept. 1.
In court filings, prosecutors allege Jeffrey Ferguson shot his wife at close range while he was intoxicated.
The shooting stemmed from an argument earlier in the evening while they were having dinner at a restaurant near their home, according to filings.
While at dinner, the judge allegedly pointed a finger at his wife “in a manner mimicking a firearm,” records allege.
“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.
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.
According to prosecutors, 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.
A search of the premises found 47 legally owned firearms at the judge’s residence, including rifles, shotguns and handguns and over 26,000 rounds of ammunition, according to court records. An additional firearm was later found at the residence and secured by defense counsels.
An additional .22-caliber rifle is registered to Jeffrey Ferguson, but its current whereabouts are unknown. Both defense counsel and law enforcement have been unable to find the rifle, according to court documents.
The alleged murder weapon was a Glock .40 pistol and it was recovered from the scene as was a casing recovered from the floor, according to documents.
The single bullet went through Sheryl Ferguson’s chest and exited through the middle of her back and into a wall behind her.
A blood sample collected from the judge about seven hours after the shooting revealed he had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.06 at the time of the blood draw, according to court records.
The couple’s son told investigators he “never witnessed domestic violence between his parents (prior to the night of); but, he also reported that he has witnessed many arguments and that [Jeffrey Ferguson] tends to be more heated when he drinks,” according to court records.
The son also told investigators that a few years ago his mother told him Jeffrey Ferguson threatened suicide with a gun by placing it to his head, but she was able to talk him out of it, according to records. There was one instance of a gun being discharged while Jeffrey Ferguson was alone in the bathroom, but it was the son’s understanding that this was an accidental discharge, according to records.
Ferguson served as a Superior Court judge since 2015 and previously was a deputy district attorney with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for over 30 years, according to prosecutors.
The extensive conditions for Ferguson’s bail include the surrender of his passport, that he not possess firearms or ammunition of any kind and the removal of his concealed carry permit. Prosecutors also requested that Ferguson submit to a search and seizure; wear an ankle bracelet; not posses or consume alcohol; and remain in Orange County, Riverside County or Los Angeles County.