Judge Accused Of Killing Wife Allegedly Texted Staff ‘I Just Shot My Wife. I Won’t Be In Tomorrow.”
Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson allegedly texted staff only minutes after shooting his wife, Sheryl Ferguson, during a heated argument on Aug. 3, 2023.
When Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, 72, texted his staff that he had shot his wife, Sheryl Ferguson, 65, they initially thought he was joking. According to PEOPLE, only minutes after he allegedly shot her, he 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.”
Earlier on the night of Aug. 3, Ferguson and his wife engaged in a heated argument in a restaurant. During this fight, the judge pointed his finger at Sheryl in a “manner mimicking a firearm,” reported CNN.
The fight continued when they returned to their Anaheim Hills home, and it continued to escalate. Prosecutors say that, at one point, Sheryl Ferguson said something along the lines of, “Why don’t you point a real gun at me?” Tragically, Ferguson did just that. He pulled out a loaded .40-caliber pistol from his ankle holster and allegedly shot his wife at close range through her chest.
The couple’s adult son was there at the time, and he is the only witness to the shooting. Shortly after 8 p.m. on Aug. 3, he dialed 911 and told the operator that his father had been drinking and shot his mother. Shortly thereafter, the judge also called 911. When the operator asked him if he was the one who shot his wife, he said that he didn’t want to talk about it then.
The Anaheim Police Department arrested Ferguson. After a search of the home, 47 firearms were removed along with 26,000 rounds of ammunition, according to CNN.
Ferguson is being charged with three felonies: murder, the discharge of a firearm causing death, and personal use of a firearm.
On Tuesday, Aug. 15, Ferguson pleaded not guilty in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday. KABC reported that, although he was initially held on $1 million bail, he is free on bond now. He had to surrender his passport and cannot drink any alcohol while out on bail. He also must steer clear of any place that serves alcohol and has to wear a GPS tracking device, among other conditions of his bail.
After the judge’s hearing, his lawyers say that the shooting was accidental and not a crime. One of his attorneys, John Barnett, said that he’ll be found not guilty.
Sheryl Ferguson's brother, Larry Rosen, said that it was “hell” when the judge looked at him in court. According to KABC, he said, "My sister was a wonderful person, very caring, very selfless. The family is absolutely in shock."