A California judge accused of fatally shooting his wife allegedly confessed to the crime in a text message to his court clerk and bailiff.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, 72, was arrested on August 3 after allegedly shooting his wife, Sheryl Ferguson, 65, during a drunken argument in their Anaheim home, Fox News reports.
“I just lost it. I just shot my wife,” he texted his staff minutes after he allegedly pulled the trigger, according to prosecutors.
“I won’t be in tomorrow,” Ferguson is said to have written. “I will be in custody. I’m so sorry.”
In a court filing, the Orange County District Attorney says the couple were arguing at a restaurant on the night in question — an argument that continued once they returned home.
Sheryl ultimately said something akin to, “Why don’t you point a real gun at me?”
That’s when Ferguson allegedly pulled out a pistol and shot her in the chest.
It was the couple’s adult son, Phillip Ferguson, who called 911. According to the court filing, he told the dispatcher that his father had been drinking too much when he shot his mother.
Ferguson also placed a call to 911 to report the shooting, the Daily Mail reports, “but said he didn’t want to talk about whether or not he shot his wife and just said that she needed paramedics.”
When officers arrived, Ferguson allegedly smelled of alcohol, according to the court filing, and told the police, “Oh man I can’t believe I did this.”
Sheryl Ferguson was pronounced dead at the scene.
The judge was arrested on Aug. 3 and charged with murder with weapons-related enhancements. He was released on Aug. 4 on $1 million bail, however, prosecutors are “seeking new bail conditions to both ensure public safety and make sure Ferguson doesn’t attempt to flee,” Fox News Digital reports.
In searching the home, authorities discovered 47 weapons and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition — all legally owned. Prosecutors say a rifle belonging to Ferguson is missing.
According to Ballotpedia, Ferguson received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Irvine in 1973. He earned his J.D. from Western State University College of Law in 1982, and, the following year, he began working for the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Most recently, he held the position of senior deputy district attorney.
In 2014, Ferguson ran for election to the Superior Court of Orange County. “He was elected in the primary on June 3, 2014, receiving 62.8 percent of the vote,” Ballotpedia reports.
In 2020, the primary election was canceled and Ferguson won without appearing on the ballot.
Over his lengthy career, Ferguson received numerous awards, specifically for his contributions to, ironically, narcotics law enforcement, including, according to the website:
- Prosecutor of the Year (four times), Orange County Narcotic Officers Association
- Outstanding Contribution to Narcotics Law Enforcement, California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement
- Outstanding Contribution to Narcotics Law Enforcement, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration – Los Angeles Field Division
- Outstanding Contribution to Narcotics Law Enforcement, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration – Orange County
- Excellence in Narcotics Law Enforcement, California Department of Justice – Violence Suppression Unit
- Excellence in Service to Law Enforcement, California Department of Justice
- Service to Narcotics Enforcement, International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association
- Recognition for Contribution to Narcotics Law Enforcement and Teaching, California Narcotics Officers Association
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