A Southern California judge has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of his wife.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffery Ferguson, 72, is accused of killing his wife Sheryl Ferguson, 65, at their Anaheim Hills home on August 3 after an argument at a nearby restaurant.
Prosecutors claim in court documents that Ferguson threatened his wife during dinner by pointing his finger at her in a “manner mimicking a firearm.”
When the couple returned home, prosecutors claim, Sheryl Ferguson dared her husband to shoot her, saying, “Why don’t you point a real gun at me?”
He then pulled out a pistol from his ankle holster and shot her, they say.
Within minutes, documents say, Ferguson sent a text message to his court clerk and bailiff: “I just lost it. I just shot my wife. I won’t be in tomorrow. I will be in custody. I am so sorry.”
The Anaheim Police Department arrested Ferguson after his adult son called 911 to report that his mother had been shot, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.
Prosecutors say they recovered 47 weapons – including rifles, shotguns, and handguns, and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition – from his home.
Prosecutors say Ferguson was drunk when he shot his wife. He was 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 was released from custody the next day after posting $1 million in bond.
Ferguson’s attorneys Paul Meyer and John Barnett told CNN, “This is a tragedy for the entire Ferguson family. It was an accident and nothing more.”
Ferguson has served as an Orange County Superior Court judge since 2015. Before election, he was a prosecutor for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, beginning in 1983.