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Ex-wife of Microsoft exec. killed in an ‘ambush’ shooting indicted for murder

JACKSONVILLE — The ex-wife of a Florida man who was shot and killed in an “ambush” while his toddler was sitting in a car seat nearby has been indicted on a count of first-degree murder in his death, prosecutors said.

Shanna Gardner-Fernandez also was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder and child abuse related to the killing of her ex-husband, Jared Bridegan, Fourth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced during a news conference Thursday.

Gardner-Fernandez was arrested and taken into custody by ATF Washington Field Division agents in West Richland, Washington, on Thursday, Nelson said. She will be extradited to Duval County, Florida, to face the charges, the prosecutor added.

The indictment hasn’t been released, but Nelson noted details on the evidence would be provided “during the discovery process.”

CNN was unable to determine whether Gardner-Fernandez has secured legal representation in connection with her arrest.

During an interview with CNN affiliate Action News Jax in June, Gardner-Fernandez said she “did not have anything to do with (Bridegan’s) murder.”

Her arrest comes months after her husband, Mario Fernandez-Saldana, was arrested and indicted in the case, which Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Paul Smith has called “a planned and targeted ambush and murder.”

Bridegan, a Microsoft senior design manager, was gunned down in February 2022 as he was driving home with his 2-year-old daughter in Jacksonville Beach. The 33-year-old had stopped to move a tire in the roadway when he was shot, police said. Investigators believe the tire was purposefully placed there to make him stop.

The toddler was left in her car seat and had no physical injuries, officials said.

Fernandez-Saldana, 34, was indicted and arrested in March for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony, and child abuse.

He has pleaded not guilty and is in the custody of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. He has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for September 12, court records show.

Prosecutors said Fernandez-Saldana “was integral to the solicitation, conspiracy, and murder of Bridegan.”

His arrest came shortly after another man, Henry Tenon, 62, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a weapon in Bridegan’s killing and agreed to “testify truthfully against any accomplice,” the state attorney’s office said at the time.

“This investigation has uncovered the truth of Jared’s murder. 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,” Nelson said Thursday.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Gardner-Fernandez and Fernandez-Saldana, Nelson said.

Tenon hasn’t been sentenced, but his plea agreement indicates he faces at least 15 years in prison. His next court date is October 9, jail records show.

The father was killed after a weekly dinner with his kids

Bridegan was shot after a weekly dinner he shared with his twins, then 9, who are his children with his ex-wife, and his 2-year-old daughter, one of two young children he shared with his second wife, Smith said.

Bridegan had dropped off the twins at Gardner-Fernandez’s home and was driving with his 2-year-old to his home when he came across the tire, according to an affidavit in the case.

Bridegan got out of the car to move the tire when he was “gunned down in cold blood,” Smith has said. Nothing was taken from the vehicle.

Tenon was arrested in connection with the case in January but had been in the custody of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office since August 2022 on unrelated charges.

Tenon was a tenant in a home owned by Fernandez-Saldana, the affidavit said. Investigators found three checks Fernandez-Saldana wrote to Tenon in October 2022. Phone records show the men had more than 60 phone contacts with each other.

The affidavit says Bridegan had a “highly acrimonious divorce” and a “contentious relationship” with his ex-wife and her second husband. But authorities did not disclose a possible motive.

“Shanna’s arrest ends one horrific chapter of our pursuit for justice for Jared, and now we open a new one. This next chapter will be excruciating, but we are confident in the ability of the state’s attorney’s office and law enforcement to bring truth to light,” Bridegan’s widow, Kirsten Bridegan, said Thursday.

https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/state/ex-wife-of-microsoft-exec-killed-in-an-ambush-shooting-indicted-for-murder Ex-wife of Microsoft exec. killed in an ‘ambush’ shooting indicted for murder

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