Microsoft executive’s ex-wife wrote ‘good luck’ on check to a hitman. Now she’s charged with murder

Jared Bridegan, 33, gunned down in 2022 in alleged murder-for-hire scheme by ex-wife Shanna Gardner

Andrea Cavallier
Thursday 16 May 2024 16:47
Moment Mario Fernandez is arrested in hitman plot

The ex-wife of slain Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan wrote “good luck!” on the check for a hitman who she allegedly hired to kill him, prosecutors say.

Shanna Gardner, 36, appeared in a Florida courtroom for a bond hearing on Wednesday. Prosecutors claim that the murder-for-hire plot was orchestrated by Ms Gardner, her new husband and another man.

Prosecutors allege Ms Gardner and her second husband, Mario Fernandez-Saldana, offered to pay Henry Tenon $150,000 to carry out the murder. Mr Tenon is Fernandez-Saldana’s former tenant.

According to police, a check was written to Mr Tenon on 4 April, 2022 for the amount of $5,000, from Gardner and Saldana’s LLC, First Choice Home Rentals. Written on the check were the notes: “Kickstarter” and “Good luck!”

“Mr Tenon stated that this was the first of many payments that were supposed to be an investment into his pallet company which was actually payment for the homicide,” Jacksonville Beach Police Detective Chris Johns Detective Johns testified on Wednesday.

Shanna Gardner, right, who is accused of orchestrating the murder of her ex-husband, Jared Bridegan, pictured at a court hearing in November 2022 with her attorney, Jose Baez, left (screengrab/First Coast News)

Bridegan, 33, was fatally gunned down on 16 February 2022, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

Police say Bridegan was driving home with his daughter when he got out of his black Volkswagen Atlas SUV to remove a tire that was obstructing the roadway. He was ambushed and shot at close range, as his young daughter sat in her car seat just feet away.

After Bridegan’s death, Gardner faced public scrutiny due to her and Bridegan’s difficult divorce and for not attending his funeral.

When Gardner filed for a divorce in 2015, she accused Bridegan of “disturbing and abusive behaviour” toward their children. He accused her of spying on him and treating him “in a disparaging manner in front of the children,” according to The Florida Times Union.

Disturbing text messages read out in court on Wednesday revealed that Gardner had been plotting her ex-husband’s death for years, prosecutors claim. Texts from Gardner to her best friend allegedly asked how she could find a hitman to “do magic” and “make him disappear”.

Gardner reportedly wrote that she would “happily” watch Bridegan “be given a lethal injection” and celebrate his death with a casserole of “funeral potatoes,” according to the texts.

Police bodycam footage shows moment Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife arrested

Gardner was arrested on 17 August 2023, more than a year after Bridegan was killed.

In police bodycam footage, she is seen being handcuffed and brought out onto the porch in a black t-shirt and pink printed pajama shorts. Someone could be heard asking if they should get her pants while the woman’s mother cries.

Gardner was charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and solicitation to commit a capital felony and child abuse.

Her husband, Mario Fernandez Saldana, 35, who she married in 2018, was charged with the same crimes while his former tenant, Henry Tenon, 62, has already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for his part.

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