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California Judge To Stand Trial For Wife's Shooting Death

Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, right, walks out of court with his attorney T. Edward Welbourn, after attending a preliminary hearing in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 20, 2024. (AP

A Southern California judge will stand trial on a murder charge in the shooting death of his wife, as ruled by another judge after finding sufficient evidence for the case to proceed. Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson was arrested in August and charged with killing his wife in their Anaheim Hills home.

The preliminary hearing was held before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Eleanor J. Hunter to avoid a conflict. Ferguson, who was presiding over criminal cases in Fullerton, was described by his attorney as believing the shooting was an accident and that his wife was the love of his life.

Ferguson, a former prosecutor, is scheduled to be arraigned 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.

Prosecutors revealed that the couple had been arguing and Ferguson, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, shot his wife in the chest after pulling a pistol from an ankle holster. Authorities found numerous weapons and ammunition at the judge's home.

Preliminary hearing held before another judge to avoid conflict.
Judge Jeffrey Ferguson faces murder charge for wife's shooting death.
Ferguson claims shooting was accidental, fueled by alcohol.
Scheduled arraignment on July 5 for murder and weapons charges.

The couple's son, who witnessed the incident, recounted that the argument escalated from a dinner outing to a fatal shooting at home. Ferguson was arrested at the scene and made incriminating statements to officers.

Ferguson, a judge since 2015, had a legal career that began in the Orange County district attorney’s office in 1983. He was previously admonished for a Facebook post about a judicial candidate.

The arrest of Ferguson, a respected figure in the legal community, has shocked Southern California. The case is being tried by the Orange County district attorney’s office, with hearings taking place before a Los Angeles County judge in downtown Los Angeles.

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