47 weapons, 26K rounds of ammo seized from home of California judge charged with murdering wife

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Saturday, August 12, 2023
Judge arrested after wife shot to death at home: police
Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson was arrested in the deadly Anaheim Hills shooting of his wife, Sheryl Ferguson, police said.

ANAHEIM HILLS, Calif. -- A California superior court judge has been charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of his wife at their Anaheim Hills home, prosecutors announced Friday.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Malcolm Ferguson, 72, is accused of killing Sheryl Ferguson, 65, on the evening of Aug. 3. The shooting was reported shortly after 8 p.m. at a residence, authorities said.

Officers arrived to find Sheryl Ferguson suffering from at least one gunshot wound, police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ferguson was taken into custody without incident. He has booked on $1 million bail and released.

During the investigation at the scene, police served a search warrant and recovered 47 weapons -- including rifles, shotguns, and handguns -- and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition. A .22 rifle legally registered to Ferguson remains unaccounted for, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors later filed one count of felony murder against him, with enhancements including personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death, and personal use of a firearm, according to a criminal complaint.

The court document alleges that Jeffrey Ferguson used a Glock .40 in the shooting and that he "threatened the victim earlier in the evening by making a hand gesture indicative of pointing a gun at her."

Prosecutors want Ferguson to surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor.

Ferguson's attorneys, Paul Meyer and John Barnett, issued a brief statement and declined to answer questions. "This is a tragedy for the entire Ferguson family. It was an accident and nothing more," they said.

Superior Court judge is an elected position in Orange County, with Ferguson winning reelection in March 2020. He has served in the role since 2015. He handles criminal cases in Fullerton.

He started his legal career in the Orange County district attorney's office in 1983 and went on to work narcotics cases, for which he won various awards. He served as president of the North Orange County Bar Association from 2012 to 2014

In 2017, Ferguson was admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance for posting a statement on Facebook about a judicial candidate "with knowing or reckless disregard for the truth of the statement" and for being Facebook friends with attorneys appearing before him in court, according to a copy of the agency's findings.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.