Wednesday, April 17

Ex-wife charged in death of Microsoft exec Jared Bridegan who was killed in front of his 2-year-old in middle of Florida street


The ex-wife of a man who was killed in the middle of a street in front of his 2-year-old daughter has been charged in the “cold, calculated and premeditated murder,” Florida officials said.

Jared Bridegan, a Microsoft executive and father of four, was found fatally shot outside his Volkswagen Atlas on a Jacksonville Beach street last year.

On Thursday, a grand jury indicted Bridegan’s ex-wife, Shanna Gardner, on charges that include murder, conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder, said Melissa Nelson, the state attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit in Florida.

Nelson said her office intends to seek the death penalty.

Officials say Gardner conspired with her husband to plan the slaying. Her husband and another man were previously arrested in the case.

Jared Bridegan.Courtesy Kirsten Bridegan

They did not act alone, Nelson said.

“Shanna Gardner’s indictment acknowledges her central and key role in the cold, calculated and premeditated murder of Jared Bridegan,” Nelson said Thursday at a news conference.

Gardner was arrested in West Richland, Washington, on Thursday morning by agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Nelson said.

Gardner, 36, was being held without bail in the Benton County, Washington, jail Thursday night, jail records show.

It was not immediately clear whether Gardner had an attorney who could speak on her behalf. Her case did not appear to be in online Florida records Thursday night.

Prosecutors will seek to extradite Gardner to Duval County, Florida, to face charges, Nelson said.

Gardner is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder and child abuse, prosecutors said.

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An indictment alleges that she and her husband, Mario Fernandez-Saldana, conspired to cause Bridegan’s death and solicit someone else to kill him.

Bridegan, 33, was fatally shot in front of his 2-year-old daughter, who was unharmed in the back seat of the Volkswagen.

His widow, Kirsten Bridegan, told NBC’s “Dateline” that when he did not come home on Feb. 16, 2022, she went driving looking for him and kept calling his phone until a police officer answered.

The officer told her that her daughter was OK but that she needed to go to the police station.

Bridegan had dropped off the twin 9-year-old children he had with Gardner at Gardner’s home, prosecutors have said.

He was driving on a regular route home when he stopped to remove a tire from the middle of the road, the state attorney’s office has said. When he got out, he was shot multiple times.

Henry Tenon is alleged to have carried out the killing, and Fernandez-Saldana is alleged to have been involved in planning it, Nelson said.

Tenon, 62, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder this year and agreed to testify against any accomplice, the state attorney’s office has said.

He has not been sentenced, according to court records. He was a tenant of Fernandez-Saldana’s, prosecutors said.

Fernandez-Saldana, 35, was indicted in March on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony and child abuse.

Fernandez-Saldana has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty.

NBC affiliate WTLV of Jacksonville has reported that Bridegan was a Microsoft executive and father of four.

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Kirsten Bridegan said his family has “hoped and prayed that this day would come.”

“Shanna’s arrest ends one horrific chapter of our pursuit for justice for Jared,” she said.

“We expect to see justice carried out to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.


www.nbcnews.com

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