Prosecutors Say Judge Told Staff: 'I Just Shot My Wife'

California investigators report finding 47 weapons and 26,000 rounds of ammunition in home
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2023 12:10 PM CDT
Prosecutors Say Judge Told Staff: 'I Just Shot My Wife'
A photo released Aug. 4 by the Anaheim Police Department shows Jeffrey Ferguson.   (Anaheim Police Department via AP, File)

Investigators say they seized 47 weapons and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition from the Southern California home of a judge charged with killing his wife during an argument. Prosecutors said Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, 72, pulled one of the guns from an ankle holster and shot Sheryl Ferguson, 65, in the chest at close range at their home in Anaheim Hills. Court documents filed this week say the judge then texted his clerk and bailiff, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I just lost it. I just shot my wife. I won't be in tomorrow. I will be in custody," the filing says he told them. "I'm so sorry."

The couple reportedly had argued earlier at a restaurant and resumed when they got home, per the New York Times. At one point, Sheryl Ferguson said something like, "Why don't you point a real gun at me?" according to the court documents. An adult son who was there unsuccessfully performed CPR on his mother. He called 911, telling the dispatcher his father had been drinking. The judge also called 911 to say his wife needed a paramedic, the filing says.

The charges filed against Ferguson on Friday include 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. After officers arrived, a police body camera recorded him saying, "I guess I'm done for a while." California's constitution disqualifies judges charged with a felony from performing their duties. Ferguson was arrested, spent one night in jail, and was released after posting $1 million bail. "This is a tragedy for the entire Ferguson family," his lawyers said in a statement, per the AP. "It was an accident and nothing more." (More murder charges stories.)

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