Duval County

Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife’s new husband, accused in Bridegan’s murder, waives right to speedy trial

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The court case for the man accused in the murder-for-hire plot of a local father continues.

Mario Fernandez Saldana waived his right to a speedy trial on Tuesday morning.


He’s the man accused in a murder-for-hire plot to kill St. Johns County father Jared Bridegan. Fernandez Saldana is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, child abuse, and solicitation to commit a capital felony.

Bridegan was gunned down Feb. 16, 2022, in Jacksonville Beach after taking his twins he shared with ex-wife Shanna Gardner Fernandez, and his then-2-year-old Bexley, his daughter with wife Kirsten Bridegan, to dinner.

Fernandez Saldana is married to Gardner Fernandez.

Read: Break down of death penalty notice against Jacksonville man charged in murder of wife’s ex-husband

The software engineer had just dropped off the twins at Gardner-Fernandez’s house when he encountered a tire on Sanctuary Boulevard, a one-way road.

Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gene Paul Smith said 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.

Read: State to seek death penalty in Jax Beach murder case

Bridegan was shot several times while Bexley was still strapped into a car seat in the back seat of his car, which is where the child abuse charge Fernandez Saldana is facing stems from.

The judge asked Fernandez Saldana on Tuesday if he waived speedy trial freely and voluntarily, and he responded “yes, your honor.”

Read: No bond for Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife’s new husband, who is accused in Bridegan’s murder

This means Fernandez Saldana will not have his trial any time soon.

Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson explained what waiving your right to a speedy trial means.

“When you’re arrested, the state has 175 days to bring you to trial, roughly 6 months,” Carson said. “Speedy trial begins the process of running that 175 days for a felony case.”

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Carson said this gives the defense more time to prepare for a case.

“In a case like this where it is considered pre-meditated, first-degree murder, this is going to take some effort both for the prosecution and the defense to prepare the matter for the trial,” Carson said.

In January, authorities announced the first arrest in connection to Bridegan’s murder, 61-year-old Henry Tenon.

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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.

Fernandez Saldana will be back in court on July 11.

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