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Ex-wife charged with murder of Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan

Husband of Bridegan’s ex-wife, Mario Fernandez, and his former tenant, Henry Tenon, already charged for their alleged roles in slaying

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 17 August 2023 20:24 BST
Related video: Kirsten Bridegan appeals for information about the murder of her husband Jared

The ex-wife of slain Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan, who was fatally shot by a gunman as he drove home with his two-year-old daughter, has been arrested and charged with his murder.

Shanna Gardner-Fernandez was arrested in Washington state on Thursday and will be extradited back to Duval County, Florida, where she has been indicted by a grand jury on a charge of first-degree murder and child abuse.

“We promised at the outset of this investigation we would not relent until we uncovered the truth of Jared’s murder, the whole and entire truth,” State Attorney Melissa Nelson told reporters.

Bridegan’s widow, Kristen Bridegan, welcomed news of the arrest.

“For 547 days, we hoped and prayed that this day would come,” she told reporters.

“Shanna’s arrest ends one horrific chapter of our pursuit for justice for Jared and now we opened a new one. This next chapter will be excruciating. We are confident in the ability of the State’s Attorney’s Office and law enforcement to bring truth to light we expect to see justice carried out to the fullest extent of the law.”

Shanna Gardner-Fernandez charged with murder of ex-husband Jared Bridegan (CBS47)

Prosecutors say they will push for the death penalty for both Ms Gardner-Fernandez and her husband, Mario Fernandez.

He and his former tenant, Henry Tenon, have both already been charged for their alleged roles in the February 2022 murder in a wealthy suburb of Jacksonville Beach.

Bridegan, a father of four, was murdered after he had dropped off the twins he shares with his ex-wife and was headed back to the house he lived at with his second wife, Kristen Bridegan.

Jared Bridegan was dropping his eldest twins off at his ex-wife’s home when he was murdered (Courtesy of Bridegan family)

Investigators say that he stopped his vehicle when he saw a tire in the middle of the road, and when he got out to move it he was shot multiple times in front of his daughter Bexley.

Court documents say that several bullets came within inches of hitting the youngster, who was strapped into her car seat.

Bridegan and his ex-wife divorced in 2015 but had been involved in court battles over custody of their twins and finances.

Jared and Kirsten Bridegan with their family. She has welcomed news of the charges (Family photo / Facebook)

Ms Gardner-Fernandez hired a prominent criminal defence lawyer following the murder and then moved back to the Pacific Northwest and prevented the twin from having any contact with their half-sisters, reported Fox News.

Mr Tenon, 62, was charged on 25 January with conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder with a weapon, accessory after the fact to a capital felony and child abuse. Authorities say that he was a former tenant of Mr Fernandez. He has a long criminal history and was already behind bars awaiting trial on unrelated charges.

Mario Fernandez Saldana has been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony and child abuse (OCJ)

Police announced on 16 March that Mr Fernandez had been arrested in Orlando and he was charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony and child abuse.

On the same day, it was announced that Mr Tenon had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against him and anyone else potentially involved in the killing.

Henry Tenon has admitted his role in the killing and offered to testify against others (Florida Department of Corrections)

The state attorney said that Mr Tenon had admitted that he was the gunman and he faces up to 15 years in prison under the plea agreement.

Mr Fernandez pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned in July and prosecutors say that he will not be offered a plea deal. According to the indictment, he wrote Tenon three checks and phone records show the men made more than 70 phone calls to each other before and after the killing.

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