A Southern California judge has been arrested on suspicion of killing his wife at the couple’s home

A Southern California judge has been arrested on suspicion of killing his wife at the couple's home

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA (AP) — A Southern California judge has been arrested on suspicion of killing his wife in the couple’s home, authorities said Friday.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson was arrested late Thursday after police received reports of shootings at the home and found the judge’s wife, Cheryl Ferguson, with a bullet inside, according to the Anaheim Police Sgt. John McClintock.

She was pronounced dead at the scene in the upscale neighborhood of Anaheim Hills. The 72-year-old judge was arrested and taken to jail.

He was held on $1 million bail in Santa Ana, and was released Friday after posting bail, according to online jail records. He has not been formally charged.

McClintock said another person was in the house at the time, but she declined to say who the person was or if he was among the callers who reported the shooting to police.

Phone and email messages seeking comment have been left to Paul S. Meyer, Ferguson’s attorney.

Ferguson was elected as a judge in 2014 and took office in 2015. He handles criminal cases in the Orange County City Court of Fullerton.

He began his legal career at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in 1983 and has continued to work on drug cases, winning numerous awards, according to the court.

During his time as District Attorney, he was honored as “Lawyer of the Year” by the North Orange County Bar Association. He served as the organization’s president from 2012 to 2014.

“This is a very tragic situation for everyone involved,” Laurie A. Walton, a current member of the association’s board of directors, said in an email.

In 2017, Ferguson was admonished by the Judicial Performance Commission for posting a statement on Facebook about a judicial candidate “with reckless knowledge or disregard of the truth of the statement” and for being friends on Facebook with attorneys appearing before him in court, according to a transcript of the agency’s findings.

Ferguson said on his Facebook page that he grew up in a military family and traveled all over Asia as a child. He went to college and law school in California. He and his wife got married in 1996.

He was previously married to another woman, and they have a son. Julie Mitchell, his ex-wife’s sister, said he and Cheryl Ferguson have another son together.

On Friday, the Orange County Superior Court declined to provide additional information about the allegations.

“While no case has been brought before our court, where appropriate we will take all steps necessary to ensure full compliance with our legal and ethical obligations,” Orange County Chief Justice Maria Hernandez said in a statement.

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