The woman charged with orchestrating the murder of her ex-husband, former Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan, has pleaded not guilty. Shanna Gardner was recently extradited to Florida to face charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy, solicitation and child abuse.
Ambush Killing Shocks Community
In February 2022, Bridegan was driving his 2-year-old daughter in Jacksonville Beach when he came upon a tire blocking the road. When the 33-year-old stepped out to inspect, he was fatally shot in what authorities described as a pre-planned ambush.
The brazen killing of the well-liked technology executive left the community reeling. Investigators pledged to bring those responsible to justice.
Ex-Wife and Her Boyfriend Charged
After months of investigation, Bridegan’s ex-wife Shanna Gardner was arrested in Washington state along with her boyfriend, Mario Fernandez Saldana. Both face the death penalty if convicted.
Detectives say the crime was motivated by a contentious divorce and custody battle between Gardner and Bridegan over their young twins. Gardner’s only link to the alleged shooter was through her boyfriend Fernandez Saldana.
Shooter Cooperating in Exchange for Plea Deal
The alleged triggerman, Henry Tenon, has admitted to Bridegan’s murder and is now cooperating with prosecutors. Tenon had previously rented a property from Fernandez Saldana, which investigators say provided the connection.
In exchange for his testimony, Tenon was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder charges, avoiding a possible death sentence.
Timeline of the Plot Comes Into Focus
Authorities have outlined an extensive premeditated plot leading up to the killing. Fernandez Saldana allegedly procured the murder weapon, while Gardner tracked her ex’s movements.
The pair also reportedly hatched an alibi plan and instructed the shooter on when and how to execute the ambush. Tenon now provides insider details on the operation.
Young Twins at Center of Dispute
Bridegan shared 4-year-old twins with Gardner, while also having a 2-year-old and infant daughter with his current wife Kirsten. The divorce and custody battle over the twins was described as bitter.
Detectives uncovered evidence of escalating arguments between the ex-spouses over parenting time and resources. Gardner’s potential financial losses from the divorce appear to have provided a motive.
High-Profile Defense Team Assembled
Gardner has assembled a notable defense team headed by celebrity attorney Jose Baez, known for representing Casey Anthony and Aaron Hernandez. The legal firepower shows she has resources to mount a vigorous defense.
Baez entered a not-guilty plea at Gardner’s recent arraignment, while Fernandez Saldana has also pleaded not guilty. Their joint pretrial hearing is slated for December as the case progresses.
Tight-Knit Community Seeks Closure
The horrific murder of Bridegan, known as a devoted father, has left deep scars in the community. Local residents hope the evolving case brings some closure and justice for his loved ones.
Authorities say the accused offenders will be vigorously prosecuted. Gardner could face the death penalty if allegations of a coldly calculated conspiracy are proven true.