Duval County

Jared Bridegan murder: Shanna Gardner and Mario Fernandez appear in back-to-back court hearings

Two suspects accused of killing St. Johns County father Jared Bridegan in 2022 appeared in court on Friday morning.

Shanna Gardner, Bridegan’s ex-wife, appeared first in court next to her lawyer, Jose Baez.


She was wearing a black shirt and gray pants in the courtroom.

Baez and the defense team received an external hard drive with evidence on Friday.

Gardner was asked to go under oath and she raised her right hand and said “I do.”

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Gardner and her defense team requested to waive the right to a speedy trial and it was granted by the judge.

According to the judge, due to the amount of evidence and to have the necessary hearing with co-defendant Mario Fernandez Saldana, the judge wants to set Gardner’s next pre-trial date for February 2, 2024.

Baez and Gardner agreed to the next court date.

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Fernandez Saldana and his defense team entered the courtroom. Fernandez Saldana was wearing the Duval County inmate uniform.

His defense team sent a 10-terabyte external drive to the prosecution. All records of discovery were given on Friday.

Dec. 11 will be the next pretrial for Fernandez Saldana.

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 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 his second wife, Kirsten Bridegan, with whom he shared children Bexley and London.

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

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

“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 Bridegan’s 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.

Gardner was arrested in August in Washington and is facing charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit murder, and child abuse.

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Valentina Gomez

Valentina Gomez, Action News Jax

Valentina Gomez is a content creator/coordinator for Action News Jax.