Case Against Darnell Ferguson, Food Network Star Accused of Strangling Wife, Moves to Grand Jury

Ferguson was arrested Jan. 9 after police accused him of breaking into his estranged wife’s Kentucky home and threatening to kill her

<p>Food Network</p> Darnell Ferguson

Food Network

Darnell Ferguson

Prosecutors have proceeded with domestic violence-related criminal charges against Food Network star Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson, who has been accused of strangling and threatening to kill his estranged wife in Kentucky.

A preliminary hearing on Thursday resulted in the 36-year-old chef's case being sent to a grand jury, according to an updated case history file shared by Kentucky Court of Justice. The grand jury hearing is scheduled for the week of Feb. 19.

Ferguson was arrested Jan. 9 in St. Matthews, a suburb of Louisville, on felony charges of burglary and strangulation, PEOPLE previously reported. He also faces misdemeanor charges including assault, terroristic threatening, menacing, criminal mischief.

He faced an additional misdemeanor charge, theft-receipt of a stolen credit or debit card, for allegedly taking his estranged wife's credit/debit card and her ID, but it was dismissed at the preliminary hearing, per the file.

Following Thursday's preliminary hearing, PEOPLE obtained the following statement from Ferguson's attorney, Krsna Tibbs of Tibbs Law Office.

“Mr. Ferguson continues to maintain his complete innocence and is confident that when all the facts are made public, he will be exonerated.  While today’s hearing was preliminary, a number of new details were introduced by the Louisville police that begin to paint a clear picture of the events of January 2, 2024," the statement read. "Right now, Mr. Ferguson is 100% focused on the well-being and safety of his family and asks that his children’s privacy be maintained.”

Darnell reportedly pleaded not guilty and is currently out on bail.

According to a warrant filed with the Kentucky Court of Justice and previously reviewed by PEOPLE, Darnell allegedly broke into Tatahda’s St. Matthews home and began yelling at her and punching walls. He then allegedly grabbed her by the neck and strangled her while threatening to kill her.

Related: Food Network Star Darnell Ferguson Allegedly Broke Into Estranged Wife’s Home, Threatened to Kill Her: Warrant

The warrant stated St. Matthews claimed she was unable to breathe and lost consciousness.

“When victim regained consciousness, she was on the floor and [Darnell] then ripped off the victim's shorts, causing a scratch to victim's upper thigh,” the warrant alleged. “After ripping victim's shorts, [Darnell] demanded to see victim's private area and told victim she was his and no one else's.”

The warrant further claimed that St. Matthews told police that Ferguson’s alleged actions “placed her in fear of being sexually assaulted.”

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty</p> Darnell Ferguson

Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty

Darnell Ferguson

Police were called to the home and took photos of the alleged victim’s injuries, which included “redness, scratches and pain to her neck and a scratch to her upper thigh,” the warrant alleged. She was subsequently taken to the hospital for medical treatment.

Related: Food Network Star Darnell Ferguson Arrested on Strangulation and Burglary Charges

In a statement provided to PEOPLE last week, Tibbs wrote, “Darnell and his wife are separated, and are working together to find a new balance for their family.”

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"They had a disagreement on January 2 that was subsequently reported to the authorities in a misleading and false manner,” the lawyer added. “We are hopeful that these issues will be resolved shortly and in a way that is least disruptive to their blended family of eight children."

Related: Food Network Star Darnell Ferguson and Wife Had ‘Disagreement,’ Says His Lawyer

"We ask at this time for privacy for Darnell and the entire family so that they can heal and continue to work on coparenting as they move forward with their divorce," the statement concluded.

Tatahda’s attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Darnell is described on the Food Network website as a celebrity chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur, who currently hosts Superchef Grudge Match. In early 2023, he co-hosted Season 25 of Worst Cooks in America alongside Anne Burrell.

He also is a frequent judge on Chopped and Guy’s Grocery Games, competed on three seasons of Guy Fieri's Tournament of Champions and has recently appeared on OWN’s The Big Holiday Food Fight and Food Fantasies.

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