SANTA ANA, Calif. – An Orange County Superior Court judge has been charged with murder in the shooting death of his 65-year-old wife in their Anaheim Hills home last week.
Jeffrey Ferguson, 72, of Anaheim Hills has been charged with one felony count of murder and one felony enhancement of personal use of a firearm and one felony enhancement of discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death. He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life if convicted on all counts.
Ferguson was arrested on Thursday, August 3, 2023 by the Anaheim Police Department after his adult son called 911 shortly after 8 p.m. to report his mother, Sheryl Ferguson, had been shot. He was released from custody by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department the next day after posting the court’s adopted bail schedule of $1 million.
Ferguson has served as an Orange County Superior Court Judge since 2015. Prior to being elected to the Orange County Superior Court, he served as a prosecutor in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office beginning in 1983.
Immediately upon being notified that a former employee of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office had been arrested on suspicion of murder in Orange County, the District Attorney’s Office contacted the California Attorney General’s Office to request a conflict check. After a thorough review of the situation, the Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday, August 8, declared the Orange County District Attorney’s Office does not have a conflict at this time and can prosecute.
No other conditions of release were required of Ferguson upon his posting bail and a judge was not involved prior to his release. Upon filing criminal charges against Ferguson, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office has filed a bail motion asking to advance Ferguson’s arraignment to Tuesday, August 15, 2023 in order to request a series of additional conditions to his bail in order to protect public safety and/or to ensure Ferguson’s appearance at trial.
Among the People’s concerns is the fact that a .22 rifle legally registered to Ferguson remains unaccounted for despite police recovering 47 other weapons – including rifles, shotguns, and handguns, and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition – from his home during the execution of a search warrant. Another rifle, initially missed by police, was subsequently located in the home and turned over to police by defense counsel, but the whereabouts of the .22 rifle remain unknown.
Due to the great concern for public safety, the additional non-monetary bail conditions being requested by the People are:
- Surrender passport to the court
- Consent to revocation of Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit
- Possess no firearm of any kind, and no ammunition of any kind
- Submit to search and seizure
- Remain in Orange County, Riverside County, or Los Angeles County
- Wear at all times, and make no effort to tamper with, an ankle bracelet with GPS coordinates, progress to be monitored by the Probation Department
- Do not enter the property line of any airport
- Have no contact with his son who was present during the homicide, except:
- Through counsel of record
- Under circumstances under which (1) the son consents to personal, telephonic, verbal or video chat contact, and (2) the son is accompanied throughout such contact by a chaperone that is either an attorney in good standing with the State of California or individual otherwise approved by the Court
- Under circumstances where the son consents to written contact
- The son is permitted, at his discretion, to record any contact
- Consume no alcohol
- Possess no alcohol
- Do not enter the premises of any liquor store, tavern, or establishment where alcohol is the primary item of sale.