Trifecta of murder suspects includes executive's ex-wife, her new husband and former tenant

Trifecta of murder suspects includes executive’s ex-wife, her new husband and former tenant

(As originally published with a gallery of photos, Thu, October 26th 2023, 4:27 PM EDT)

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. (TND) — The ex-wife of Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan has been extradited cross-country to face charges in his killing, making her the third defendant in custody in Florida.

Shanna Lee Gardner, 36, was indicted by a grand jury in Jacksonville in August on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony, and child abuse.

Shortly after, she was arrested in West Richland, Wash., by law enforcement from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.

According to the state attorney’s office, two co-defendants had already been indicted and arrested: Gardner’s current husband, Mario Fernandez Saldana, this past March and Henry Tenon in January.

Tenon was a tenant of Fernandez Saldana. He pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against his co-defendants.

Bridegan, 33, was found lying on a road, dead from multiple gunshot wounds. That was in the evening of Feb. 16, 2022. He had just dropped off his twin 9-year-old children with his ex and her new husband.

Bridegan and the kids had taken part in a “date night” with his new wife and their 2-year-old daughter and was driving home on the route he normally traveled.

The state attorney’s office reported, “At a dark stretch of road, he encountered a tire in the middle of the road. When Bridegan stopped the car and began to exit the vehicle to remove the tire, he was shot several times in front of his 2-year-old who was still strapped to a car seat in the back seat.”

According to the affidavit for Fernandez Saldana in March, “Bridegan’s wife, Kirsten Bridegan, spoke to him just moments before the murder; she told investigators there was nothing unusual in that conversation.

”Bridegan was not armed and there was no evidence of a struggle. Bridegan’s personal items — his wristwatch, wedding ring, phone, money, and wallet — were not taken. His car was not stolen, and his daughter was not physically harmed.

“Bullets struck the interior of the vehicle, in close proximity to where the child was strapped into her car, an act that reasonably could have been expected to cause physical or mental injury to her. Witnesses advised that the child was crying when they arrived on scene.

”Motion-activated surveillance videos around the homicide scene indicate that the tire was not in the roadway shortly before the shooting, as no vehicles driving on Sanctuary Boulevard were seen swerving to avoid the damaged tire. Affiant believes this was purposeful, in order to get Bridegan to stop his vehicle.”

According to the affidavit for Tenon in January, “Bridegan’s death is best be described as a targeted murder.”

Trifecta of murder suspects includes executive's ex-wife, her new husband and former tenant
Shanna Lee Gardner (Oct. 20, 2023, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office) was indicted on charges of 1st-degree murder, conspiracy to commit 1st-degree murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony, and child abuse in the killing of her ex-husband Jared Bridegan on Feb. 16, 2022. (Jacksonville Beach Police Dept.)

It said Bridegan had “a highly acrimonious divorce and a contentious relationship with Gardner and Fernandez Saldana.”

Plus, it found three handwritten checks to Tenon from Fernandez Saldana, and it accused Tenon of having at least 70 phone contacts with Fernandez Saldana after his lease end, when Tenon admitted to only one call.

The affidavit also mentioned Tenon, who made a plea deal, has a criminal record in “Georgia and Florida, including multiple felony convictions for driving on suspended license (habitual traffic offender), burglary, grand theft, and unlawful possession of firearms.”

As of Tenon’s indictment in January, the investigation included witness interviews, more than 77 subpoenas, and more than 30 search warrants.

”This investigation has uncovered the truth of Jared’s murder,” State Attorney Melissa Nelson said. “Henry Tenon did not act alone. Mario Fernandez did not plan alone. And Shanna Gardner’s indictment acknowledges her central and key role in the cold, calculated, and premeditated murder of Jared Bridegan.”

Gardner was returned to Florida last Friday evening, Oct. 20.

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