Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife has been charged in his February 2022 murder, State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced Thursday.
The State Attorney’s Office said it would announce “a significant development” in the investigation. That development was the arrest of Shanna Gardner-Fernandez.
Gardner-Fernandez is facing charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit murder, and child abuse. She was arrested by ATF agents in Washington and will be extradited to Duval County, Nelson said.
State Attorney Melissa Nelson, Jacksonville Beach Police Department Chief Gene Paul Smith, and ATF Special Agent Bob Bryson appeared at the news conference, along with Bridegan’s brother and widow Kirsten Bridegan.
Nelson said her office will file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Gardner-Fernandez.
Bridegan was gunned down Feb. 16, 2022, in Jacksonville Beach after taking his twins he shared with Gardner-Fernandez, and his then-2-year-old Bexley, his daughter with wife Kirsten Bridegan, to dinner.
The software engineer had just dropped off the twins at Gardner-Fernandez’s house when he encountered a tire in Sanctuary Boulevard, a one-way road. He was headed home to his second wife, Kirsten Bridegan, with whom he shared children Bexley and London.
Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gene Paul Smith said during the announce of the first arrest in January, that the “the tire was purposely placed there to make him stop which he did.”
“Tragically he began to exit his vehicle to move the tire and he was gunned down in cold blood,” Smith said.
Bridegan was shot several times while Bexley was still strapped into a car seat in the back seat of his car.
So far, two people have been arrested in a murder-for-hire plot to kill Bridegan, a St. Johns County father of 4.
Mario Fernandez Saldana was arrested in March on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, child abuse, and solicitation to commit a capital felony. Fernandez Saldana is the current husband of Gardner-Fernandez.
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Henry Tenon, 61, was arrested in January in connection to Bridegan’s murder. He was arrested in January on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, accessory after the fact to a capital felony, child abuse, and second-degree murder
Tenon, who rented a home from Fernandez Saldana, agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder. That means Tenon faces 15 years to life in prison, but not the death penalty.
Nelson said Thursday that Tenon did not act alone in Bridegan’s murder and Fernandez Saldana did not plan it alone. She said Thursday’s briefing would be her last public update on the case.