Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, the ex-wife of Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder for orchestrating the murder of Bridegan in February of 2022.
Police arrested Fernandez on Thursday for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and child endangerment. That last charge stems from the fact that Bridegan was gunned down in front of his four-year-old daughter.
Melissa Nelson, the state attorney for Jacksonville's Fourth Judicial District, issued a statement saying, "This investigation has uncovered the truth. Shanna Gardner's indictment acknowledges her key role in the cold, calculated and premeditated murder of Jared Bridegan."
While Fernandez's arrest may bring some relief to Bridegan's family, there is a long battle ahead and the family will take years to recover from this horrific killing.
Kirsten Bridegan, Jared's wife, issued a statement following Fernandez's arrest saying, "For 547 days we hoped and prayed that this day would come. Shanna's arrest ends one horrific chapter in our pursuit for justice for Jared, and now we open a new one. This next chapter will be excruciating."
The trauma from this killing will affect the family for the foreseeable future, especially for Bridegan's four-year-old daughter who will no doubt have significant trauma to recover from.
While the authorities have been tight-lipped with the evidence they have, Kirsten Bridegan said, "From very, very early on, everything in my soul and body told me that she was behind it."
It appears that Fernandez planned Bridegan's slaying with the aid of others as authorities have arrested her husband, Mario Fernandez, and his former tenant, Henry Tenon.
While driving near his home with his daughter, Bridegan was stopped by a tire in the road. When he exited the vehicle to move the tire, an unknown assailant opened fire killing Bridegan and narrowly missing his daughter in the car.
Bridegan had just dropped off the twins that he shared with Fernandez with her and was returning to his home when he was murdered. It didn't take long for Fernandez to attract the suspicions of both Bridegan's family and the authorities.
After Bridegan's mysterious slaying, Fernandez hired a criminal defense attorney and moved to the Pacific Northwest while also cutting off contact between her children and their half-siblings.
Everything came apart when Tenon confessed to killing Bridegan as part of a plea deal in which he would also testify against Fernandez as the architect behind this brutal murder.
This tragedy has no doubt had a terrible effect on Bridegan's children, both the daughter who nearly lost her life and the set of twins that have had their lives torn apart as Fernandez attempted to hide them away.
Fernandez and her husband will possibly face the death penalty if Nelson gets her way. As for Tenon, he will no doubt face serious prison time, but his cooperation with investigators give him a shot at life outside of prison in the future.