Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers’ discretion advised.
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FLORIDA: Shanna Gardner Fernandez, the ex-wife of murdered Microsoft executive, Jared Bridegan, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, solicitation, and child abuse on Thursday, August 17.
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The apprehension came after a painstaking 547-day wait for justice, a period that the victim’s widow, Kirsten Bridegan, her husband’s family, and the community at large have endured with a mix of anticipation and frustration.
The brutal killing took place just minutes away from Shanna’s residence, leading to suspicions that she might have played a significant role in the crime. The victim, Jared, was executed in “cold blood” and shot multiple times at close range in what authorities have described as an ambush-style attack in February 2022.
Kirsten Bridegan’s reaction to the arrest of Shanna Gardner Fernandez
Kirsten expressed relief at the arrest of Shanna, stating, “There is satisfaction in knowing that the person I believe was the driving force behind this doesn’t get the privileges that she allegedly took from Jared,” as per Daily Mail.
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“My personal thought is that I trust [the prosecutors] to make the best decision for the case and if that is the death penalty then we support that,” added Kirsten.
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Moreover, Kirsten’s struggle for justice has extended to her efforts to keep her family together amid the immense tragedy. She has advocated for her children, Liam and Abby, to be allowed to maintain connections with their half-siblings, a plea that has largely gone unanswered.
Amid the grief and turmoil, she has embarked on positive initiatives to honor her late husband’s memory. She created a charitable foundation in Jared’s name as well as the Bexley’s Boxes project, which provides comfort items to police departments for traumatized children, reflecting her commitment to turning tragedy into something constructive.
How was Jared Bridegan killed?
On February 16, 2022, Jared was led into an “ambush” orchestrated by Shanna’s alleged co-conspirators, including her present husband Mario Fernandez-Saldana and Henry Tenon, before being killed.
Henry Tenon, who has since pleaded guilty to his role as the triggerman, allegedly lay in wait and executed the heinous act when Jared stepped out of his car to remove an obstruction from the road. He was gunned down at point blank range while his then two-year-old daughter Bexley was strapped in her child seat in the back of the car.
Will Shanna Gardner Fernandez get the death penalty?
The gravity of the situation around Jared’s death is underscored by the fact that Florida State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced her intention to seek the death penalty for Shanna Gardner Fernandez.
Nelson emphasized the extent of Shanna’s involvement, stating that she played a central role in the meticulously planned murder. With Shanna’s husband, Mario, also facing the possibility of the death penalty, the legal proceedings are set to be complex and emotionally charged.
How was the relationship between Jared Bridegan and Shanna Gardner Fernandez?
A custody battle between Jared and Shanna had been ongoing since their divorce in 2015, primarily centered around their twins, Liam and Abby. Jared had concerns over her behavior and presence in their children’s lives, causing disputes.
Moreover, the custody agreement had specific clauses emphasizing that the twins should not be left alone with the ex-wife overnight if she was unable to be there while they were in her care.
Jared and Shanna married in 2010 and were believed to have had a messy divorce. She then went on to marry Mario, who has also been accused in the death of Jared.
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