Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, the former spouse of slain Florida Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan, faces a first-degree murder charge, according to State Attorney Melissa Nelson. Bridegan, who was killed in 2022 in Jacksonville Beach while with his toddler, had been attending to a tire left in the middle of the road.
Gardner-Fernandez’s arrest took place in eastern Washington following the grand jury’s decision. Nelson announced the intention to pursue the death penalty against her.
Earlier in the year, 61-year-old Henry Tenon was detained for his involvement in Bridegan’s death. Charged with multiple counts, including conspiracy to commit murder, it was always suspected that Tenon hadn’t acted alone.
He later admitted to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against Gardner-Fernandez’s current husband, Mario Fernandez Saldana, who faces charges like conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Saldana maintains his innocence.
With this recent development, Gardner-Fernandez is the third individual implicated in the crime, which is believed to have ties to a prolonged custody battle between the former couple. Both had remarried after their 2016 divorce but continued their legal dispute until Bridegan’s untimely death.
State Attorney Nelson emphasized the collective involvement of Tenon, Saldana, and Gardner-Fernandez in the premeditated murder. Specific indictment details will be disclosed in the discovery phase.
It’s suspected that the tire causing Bridegan to exit his vehicle was deliberately placed there to make him vulnerable. Sgt. Tonya Tator of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department provided details of the scene to the media.
Reports soon surfaced about the ongoing custody feud between Bridegan and Gardner-Fernandez after the incident.