California Judge Jeffrey Ferguson texted prosecutors after the murder: “I just shot my wife.”

The Southern California judge, who is accused of killing his wife in a drunken tantrum, texted his staff just minutes after the murder to let them know he would not be showing up for work the next day – because he was due to the crime would be behind bars, prosecutors said Friday.

“I just lost it. I just shot my wife. I won’t be there tomorrow. I will be in custody. I’m so sorry,” Orange County Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Ferguson, 72, allegedly said to his clerk and bailiff after he shot and killed his wife Sheryl, 65, at their home in Anaheim Hills last week.

The Orange County Attorney’s Office court filings charging Ferguson with murder with weapon-related enhancements also reveal more details about the domestic dispute that led to the fatal killing.

The argument began when the couple had dinner together at a restaurant on Aug. 3 and continued when they returned to their upscale home, Orange County prosecutors said in court filings.

Sheryl Ferguson reportedly said something along the lines of, “Why don’t you point a real gun at me?” to her husband, who then pulled a pistol from his ankle holster and shot her in the chest.

Her adult son reported the shooting to 911 and said his father drank too much and shot his mother, the document said.

Jeffrey Ferguson.  Ferguson was arrested late Thursday, August 10, 2023, after police received reports of a shooting at the home and determined that the judge's wife, Sheryl Ferguson, was shot dead inside, Anaheim Police Department Sgt. said.  Jon McClintock.
Judge Jeffrey Ferguson was arrested late August 10, 2023 after police received reports of a shooting at the home and found that the judge’s wife, Sheryl Ferguson, was shot dead inside.

Investigators remove firearms from the judge's house on August 4, 2023 in Anaheim, California.
Investigators removed firearms from the judge’s home in Anaheim, California on August 4, 2023.

Ferguson also called 911 but declined to provide details and told the dispatcher that he did not want to discuss the shooting when asked if he was the shooter.

The accused wife-killer allegedly embroiled responding officers, who said the judge reeked of alcohol.

“Oh man, I can’t believe I did that,” Ferguson said, according to the document.

At the couple’s home, investigators discovered 47 guns — including the pistol allegedly used in the shooting — and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition.

Authorities said 47 guns were confiscated from the home.
Authorities said 47 guns were confiscated from the home.

All guns are lawful possession, but a gun registered in Ferhuson’s name is still missing, according to prosecutors.

He was taken into custody but released a day later after posting $1 million bail. However, Orange County prosecutors are asking for new bail terms after arguing that the gun hoard suggests it could pose both a public safety threat and an escape risk.

They want him to surrender his passport, wear an ankle monitor and be clean of alcohol and firearms before his Sept. 1 arraignment.

Despite Ferguson’s two alleged admissions, his defense attorneys maintain that Sheryl’s death was the result of an “accident and nothing more.”

He and Sheryl married in 1996.

Ferguson, who has been a judge since 2015, handles criminal cases in the Orange County town of Fullerton.

During his 40-year career in Orange County, he has won numerous awards, including being named District Attorney of the Year four times by the Orange County Narcotics Officers Association.

Ferguson was remanded in custody by the state Commission on Judicial Performance in 2017 for making an inappropriate comment about a judicial candidate on Facebook and staying on the Friends social media platform with attorneys who appeared before him in court.

His shock arrest has left officials at odds over how to handle the case — a judge in neighboring Los Angeles County was elected to hear the case to avoid a conflict of interest.

With post wires


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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