The husband of Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife has been arrested and charged with the brazen execution of the Microsoft executive.
The Jacksonville Beach Police Department announced that Mario Fernandez-Saldana was arrested on Thursday morning for the February 2022 slaying of Bridegan, who was fatally shot last year as he tried to move a tire in the middle of a quiet residential Florida road while his daughter was still in the car.
Fernandez-Saldana, 35, is the second husband of Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, who was married to Bridegan for six years before their 2015 divorce. He has been indicted on several charges, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. The arrest comes months after Fernandez-Saldana’s handyman and tenant, Henry Tenon, was arrested in connection with the Feb. 16, 2022, slaying. State Attorney Melissa Nelson said in a press conference that Tenon pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Thursday.
“Henry Tenon has admitted that he was the shooter,” Nelson said on Thursday.
Police say that Bridegan was returning to his St. Augustine home after dropping off his twins at his ex-wife’s house when he came upon a tire in the middle of the road. After leaving his 2-year-old daughter in the backseat of his Volkswagen Atlas, Bridegan was fatally shot multiple times “in cold blood” as he was trying to move the obstacle.
The toddler, who is one of two daughters he shares with Kirsten Bridegan, was unharmed in the attack and was still in her car seat when an individual drove by minutes later and called authorities. Police say that when they arrived at the crime scene, the hazard lights of Bridegan’s car were flashing and the tire was still on the road.
At the time of Tenon’s arrest, authorities did not provide any details about his connection to Bridegan but alleged in a complaint against him that he conspired with at least one accomplice for six weeks prior to the slaying.
Public records obtained by The Daily Beast showed that Tenon, 61, lived at a Jacksonville home that, until October, was owned by Fernandez-Saldana. Tenon also reportedly worked as a handyman for several of Fernandez’s Jacksonville rental properties.
A heavily redacted arrest warrant affidavit, obtained by The Daily Beast, notes that Tenon received “three handwritten checks” from Fernandez-Saldana. Phone records also show that Tenon and Fernandez-Saldana spoke on the phone 35 times in February, 30 times in March, and between 5 and 9 times in May and June.
“The totality of evidence establishes that Fernandez-Saldana was a principal to Bridegan’s murder and that Fernandez-Saldana solicited, conspired with, and assisted others involved in Bridegan’s murder,” the affidavit states.
A spokesperson for Garnder-Fernandez did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Fernandez Saldana’s lawyer, Jesse Dreicer, told The Daily Beast that his client was arrested in Orlando and is still waiting to be extradited to the Jacksonville area.
“There is a lot of information that will be forthcoming and we are not going to make any additional comment at this time,” Dreicer added.
Thursday’s arrest marks another major development in the “targeted” attack against the senior design manager. As previously reported by The Daily Beast, the Mormon dad’s death exposed his complicated marriage and February 2015 divorce from Garnder-Fernandez.
The affidavit notes that Garnder-Fernandez met her husband at a CrossFit gym in 2018—where the latter was a “maintenance man.” Prosecutors also note that Bridegan, Garnder-Fernandez, and Fernandez-Saldana had a “contentious relationship.”
Since their divorce, Bridegan and Garnder-Fernandez remained locked in a contentious court battle in St. Johns County, which included fights over child custody and allegations of mental manipulation.
Garnder-Fernandez and the twins have since moved to Washington amid media scrutiny.
Kirsten Bridegan told The Daily Beast last year that despite the ongoing battle with his ex-wife, she and Bridegan had figured out a schedule to ensure that he could see his children. As part of the custody agreement, the Bridegans would see the twins on Wednesdays for “date night” when they were not with them.
“It usually consisted of a dinner and a quick activity like dinner or dessert, and then the parent would drop the kids back off at the other parent’s house,” Kirsten previously explained, noting that her husband was returning home from one of those “date nights” when he was fatally shot.
On Thursday, Bridegan’s widow thanked authorities for their continued efforts in finding her husband’s killer.
“We have great relief, but are also angry that they were waking free and Jared wouldn’t be here,” she added.