SHANNA GARDNER-FERNANDEZ ARRESTED FOR MURDER OF EX-HUSBAND
The ex-wife of a Florida Microsoft executive who was gunned down in front of his 2-year-old daughter last year has been arrested in Washington and charged with murder.
Who is Shanna Gardner-Fernandez?
Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, 35, was taken into custody Thursday after a grand jury handed down a first-degree murder indictment.
The victim, Jared Bridegan, 33, was killed last February after dropping off two of his children he shared with Gardner-Fernandez at her home in Jacksonville Beach.
The pair were in the midst of a bitter custody battle at the time.
Bridegan — who remarried and had two small children with his new wife — was traveling home with his daughter Bexley when he came upon a tire in the middle of the road and stopped his SUV.
With his daughter looking on from the backseat, Bridegan was shot dead after exiting his vehicle to move the tire.
The traumatized tot — who narrowly avoided being struck by the gunfire — remained alone at the scene for several excruciating minutes until a passerby stopped and called the police.
Gardner-Fernandez’s new husband, Mario Saldana-Fernandez, 38, was arrested in March in connection with the killing.
Cops said he conspired with a tenant in one of his rental properties, Henry Tenon, 41, to orchestrate Bridegan’s killing.
Tenon was arrested in January and agreed to cooperate with investigators after admitting to pulling the trigger.
Gardner-Fernandez moved across the country to Washington soon after her ex-husband’s murder and distanced herself from Fernandez.
Hailing from a wealthy Mormon family in Utah, Gardner-Fernandez had relatives use an LLC to purchase a new home in West Richland.
Suspicions about Gardner-Fernandez spiked after a tattoo parlor owner came forward and said she once inquired about a way to “get rid of” of Bridegan.
She admitted making the ominous statement to a local newspaper but staunchly denied any role in the crime.
Bridegan and Gardner-Fernandez divorced in 2015, but their court war carried on for years until his murder.
The slain father’s heartbroken widow, Kirsten Bridegan, had openly suspected Gardner-Fernandez of masterminding his slaying.
“This was orchestrated, this was planned and this was specific to Jared,” she said after Tenon’s arrest.
Bexley, she said, continues to absorb the pain of her dad’s death — and sometimes recoils at loud noises that remind her of the fatal gun blasts.
“She heard the noises of the shots that killed her dad, and she was alone wondering what happened to him, and he’s not answering her for minutes — and minutes are an eternity for a child,” she said.
Gardner-Fernandez is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court next week.