Judge Jeffrey Ferguson of Orange County Superior Court entered a not guilty plea to murder charges in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom one week after admitting via text message that he shot his wife after losing it. courtroom.
Ferguson lawyers: Gunshot was an accident rather than a crime
Last Monday, Ferguson, 72, was charged with murder. He allegedly shot his 65-year-old wife Sheryl inside their Anaheim Hills home after pulling a revolver from his ankle holster. He spent one night behind bars and has since been released on $1 million bail, according to documents.
In a report from Los Angeles Times, Ferguson was given permission to remain free during a hearing on Tuesday morning by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ricardo Ocampo, but he was also told to turn up his passport and was prohibited from leaving the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, or Riverside. The senior judge must also subject to electronic surveillance, abstain from alcohol use, refrain from owning firearms, and avoid going to bars, Ocampo stated.
Ferguson did not respond to questions from reporters outside the courtroom while donning a black suit and having his white hair slightly swept toward his eyes. His lawyers, John Barnett and Paul Meyer, claimed that the gunshot was an accident rather than a crime.
Judge Ferguson, according to Barnett, spent 40 years defending and serving Orange County’s residents. He is convinced that an Orange County jury will concur with us that this was an unintentional firearm discharge and that there was neither an intent to murder nor malice.
When asked how his client might escape a manslaughter conviction if the shooting had been unintentional, Barnett argued Ferguson was also not guilty of that offense.
The night of the shooting on August 3, according to the prosecution, Ferguson and his wife had a disagreement over supper at a restaurant during which he allegedly threatened her by making a hand motion that appeared to be pointing a pistol at her.
When the couple got back home, the dispute continued, and Sheryl Ferguson yelled, “Why don’t you point a real gun at me?the same, according to the prosecution.
According to the prosecution, the judge took a.40-caliber Glock handgun out of his ankle holster and shot Sheryl once in the chest.
Before the judge sent texts to his law clerk and bailiff, Ferguson and his son, age 22, called 911.
Anaheim police seized 47 firearms and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition from Ferguson’s home after his arrest. The district attorney’s office reports that investigators were unable in locating a.22-caliber weapon that is registered in his name. The judge’s lawyers claimed in court that he did not possess such a weapon.
Ferguson’s blood alcohol level was detected at 0.06%, below the legal limit for intoxication
Former federal prosecutor Laurie Levenson stated that the publicly known facts of the case unmistakably support a murder accusation.
According to Levenson, the case’s facts will certainly make it difficult for Ferguson to claim that he was too intoxicated to know the risk he was putting his wife in. Following the shooting, Ferguson’s blood alcohol level was detected at 0.06%, which is below the legal limit for intoxication, according to court documents.
Independent reported that Ferguson had served as a judge in Orange County since 2015, therefore the case was transferred out of that jurisdiction. However, the Orange County district attorney’s office is still prosecuting the case despite the fact that Ferguson was a veteran prosecutor before being appointed to the bench since the California attorney general’s office determined there was no conflict of interest.
According to her younger brother Larry Rosen, Sheryl Ferguson was buried at a Hollywood Hills cemetery on Monday. Larry Rosen described his sister as a wonderful person who was very compassionate and selfless.