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Crime News Murders

California Judge Arrested on Suspicion of Gunning Down Wife in Their Home

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson was taken into custody on suspicion of murder "without incident" after his wife, Sheryl, suffered a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

By Elisabeth Ford
Judge Gavel G

An Orange County judge has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of his wife, police said Friday.

Detectives arrested Jeffrey Ferguson, 72, of Anaheim, just after 8 p.m. Thursday after dispatch received a call about a shooting at a residence on the 8500 block of E. Canyon Vista Drive, the Anaheim Police Department said in a news release.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Ferguson’s wife, 65-year-old Sheryl Ferguson, who was pronounced dead after suffering at least one gunshot wound.

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The Orange County Superior Court judge was taken into custody on suspicion of murder “without incident” and is being held on a $1 million bail.

“Detectives are not disclosing any additional details at this time because the investigation is ongoing,” police said.

Ferguson has served as a Superior Court judge in Orange County since 2015

After getting his degree from Western State College of Law, he began his legal career in 1983 as a deputy district attorney in Orange County, according to the North Orange County Bar Association, for whom Ferguson served as president from 2012 to 2014.

“He was promoted to Senior Deputy District Attorney, and posted to the Major Narcotics Enforcement Team a decade later,” his bio said, adding that he had been named prosecutor of the year four times by the Orange County Narcotics Officers Association.

The state Commission on Judicial Performance admonished Ferguson in 2017 for making inappropriate comments on Facebook about a judicial candidate and being friends on the social media platform with attorneys who have appeared before him in court, according to the Orange County Register.

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“Our thoughts go to the family. We all pray for their comfort during this trying time,” Orange County Superior Court Presiding Judge Maria Hernandez said in a statement, per KTLA.  “Although no case has been filed with our Court, when appropriate we will take all necessary steps to ensure full compliance with our legal and ethical obligations.”

A neighbor who did not want to be named told the local station that Ferguson and his wife had lived in the home where she died for over 20 years, adding that she watched the judge be taken away in handcuffs.

Sheryl Ferguson had previously worked for both the Orange County and Santa Barbara probation departments, according to KTLA, citing his campaign biography

A neighbor told the news outlet that he never expected anything like this to happen and would often exchange pleasantries with the couple whenever running into each other.

"It's a shock," John Poulter said. "So many people in the neighborhood flooded the street [afterward] and just kept repeating, 'There's no way he could have done this.' "

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