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Orange County judge can stand trial in wife’s shooting death, judge says

Jun 20, 2024, 11:16 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There is sufficient evidence for a Southern California judge to stand trial on a murder charge in the shooting death of his wife, a judge ruled Thursday.

The decision came after a preliminary hearing for Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, who was arrested in August and charged with killing his wife in their home in the upscale neighborhood of Anaheim Hills.

The hearing was held before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Eleanor J. Hunter to avoid a conflict. Until the shooting, Ferguson was presiding over criminal cases in a courtroom about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away in the Orange County city of Fullerton.

Prosecutors declined to comment after the hearing. Ferguson’s attorney, T. Edward Welbourn, said the shooting was a tragic accident.

Ferguson is scheduled to be arraigned in Los Angeles on July 5 on one count of murder and weapons-related enhancements. He remains free on $1 million bail and is required to use monitoring devices for GPS and blood alcohol content.

Ferguson was arrested on Aug. 3 at his home after police found his wife, Sheryl Ferguson, shot to death. Prosecutors said in court filings that the couple had been arguing and the judge had been drinking when he pulled a pistol from an ankle holster and shot her in the chest. Authorities said they later found 47 weapons, including the pistol used in the shooting, and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition at the judge’s home.

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Orange County judge can stand trial in wife’s shooting death, judge says