WOOSTER — Charles Ferguson, the Chippewa Township man who fatally stabbed his 73-year-old mother last September, will spend at least 15 years in prison, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Ferguson, 56, of the 14700 block of Oak Grove Drive, received a sentence of 15 years to life. He pleaded guilty last month to one count of murder, an unspecified felony. Judge Corey Spitler gave Ferguson credit for 198 days served in the Wayne County Jail.

Ferguson had been in the jail since Labor Day, when he stabbed his mother Linda multiple times in their residence in the Oak Park Estates mobile home park, authorities said. Capt. Doug Hunter, of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, said Charles Ferguson and his mother got into a dispute that led to the stabbing.

Officials initially believed Linda Ferguson’s wounds were serious, but not life-threatening. But after Linda Ferguson died of her injuries in late October, prosecutors secured a supplemental indictment charging Charles Ferguson with murder.

Before Spitler issued his sentence Wednesday, Ferguson’s sister Lori Currington addressed the court, and said the entire situation has “been a nightmare.”

“It took (my mom) a long time to die, and I was there every day to watch her,” Currington said.

But, Currington said, her mother’s death is not a black and white issue. She said her parents and brothers all struggled with substance abuse, and she and her sibling had to fend for themselves while they were growing up.

“By the time my brothers were like 15 and 16, they were living on the streets because nobody wanted to be bothered with them, because my mom and dad were dealing with their own personal struggles with alcohol and all kinds of things,” she said.

Currington said her brother, whom she calls Chuck, started getting in trouble from the time he was young, before eventually starting to turn his life around.

“Chuck finally quit going to prison. He quit getting into trouble. He kept the same job for like 15 years,” Currington said. “But he ended up living with my mom, along with my other older brother, because for some reason they could never get their lives together to where they could support themselves.”

And that, Currington said, caused problems.

“Chuck’s relationship with my mom was always contentious, bitter,” she said. ” ... Nothing about this is black and white. My mom also, like everybody else in the family, enjoyed drinking. And when she drank she could become very ugly.”

This led to frequent arguments, Currington said, and ultimately caused her to stop visiting her mom and brothers about a year before the stabbing. But now, she said, a lengthy prison sentence for Charles Ferguson would not improve the family’s situation.

“My family’s pretty much shattered. And for my brother to die in prison doesn’t in any way make any of that seem any better,” Currington said.

And ultimately, she still loves her brother, she said.

“I know he killed her and I know that can’t be changed. And I can’t imagine how he feels right now, because it’s a horrible thing to become drunk and psychotic and do something that you cannot fix,” Currington said. “And I know that’s what Chuck lives with every day. And I just wanted to make sure people know that it’s not black and white at all. This is a very gray thing. And I love my brother. I hate what he did, but I love him.”

Ferguson declined to make a statement to the court. But Spitler, before issuing his sentence, said he recognized that this case, like most he hears, is not clear-cut.

“I don’t really have much to say other than I just want to comment on what your sister said, that this is not black and white. That’s true of most sentencings that I deal with, they’re not black and white,” Spitler told Ferguson. “It’s unfortunate to hear that due to your upbringing, due to your alcohol consumption, due to the way you lived your life, it ended up with you killing your mother.”

 

Reporter Jack Rooney can be reached at 330-287-1645 or jrooney@the-daily-record.com. He is on Twitter at twitter.com/RooneyReports.