Duval County

1 of the 3 suspects accused in murder-for-hire plot to kill Jared Bridegan appears in court

Mario Fernandez Saldana

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The man accused of taking part in a murder-for-hire plot to kill a St. Johns County father in 2022 appeared in front of a judge on Tuesday morning.

Investigators say Mario Fernandez Saldana conspired to kill his estranged wife Shanna Gardner’s ex-husband Jared Bridegan.


On Tuesday, a judge decided to push Fernandez Saldana’s next pre-trial hearing back in hopes that Gardner will be extradited back to Jacksonville.

She is also facing charges in Bridegan’s murder.

Fernandez Saldana’s next court hearing is set for October.

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The crime

Bridegan, a St. Johns County father of four, was gunned down Feb. 16, 2022, in Jacksonville Beach. He had just taken his twins he shared with Gardner, and his then-2-year-old Bexley, his daughter with second wife Kirsten Bridegan, to dinner.

The software engineer had just dropped off the twins at Gardner’s house when he encountered a tire on Sanctuary Boulevard, a one-way road. He was headed home to Kirsten Bridegan, with whom he shared children Bexley and London.

JUNE 2022 INTERVIEW: ‘Wish it weren’t like this’: Ex-wife of Jared Bridegan, father killed in Jacksonville Beach, speaks

Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gene Paul Smith said during the announcement of the first arrest in Bridegan’s murder in January, that “the tire was purposely placed there to make him stop which he did.”

“Tragically he began to exit his vehicle to move the tire and he was gunned down in cold blood,” Smith said.

Bridegan was shot several times while Bexley was still strapped into a car seat in the back seat of his car.

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The arrests

Fernandez Saldana was arrested in March on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, child abuse, and solicitation to commit a capital felony.

The arrest of Henry Tenon, 61, in connection to Bridegan’s murder was announced in January. He was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, accessory after the fact to a capital felony, child abuse, and second-degree murder

Tenon, who rented a home from Fernandez Saldana, agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder. That means Tenon faces 15 years to life in prison, but not the death penalty.

Action News Jax told you when Gardner was arrested on Aug. 17 in West Richland, Washington, in connection with Bridegan’s murder. She is facing charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit murder, and child abuse.

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