JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The man accused of killing a St. Johns County father of 4 in Jacksonville Beach in 2022 appeared in court on Thursday morning.
The arrest of Henry Tenon in the murder of Jared Bridegan was announced Wednesday by State Attorney Melissa Nelson and Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gene Paul Smith.
Bridegan’s second wife, Kirsten Bridegan, with whom he shares 3-year-old Bexley and 1-year-old London, was also at the news conference on Wednesday for the announcement.
Bridegan was shot and killed in February 2022 in front of his then-2-year-old daughter Bexley, who was in the car while Bridegan got out of his car to move a tire in the road.
Smith said this was a targeted attack, as the tire was left in the road with the purpose of making Bridegan stop.
Action News Jax also learned that Tenon, 61, rented a house that belonged to Mario Fernandez, who is the current husband of Bridegan’s ex-wife Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, who is the mother of Bridegan’s 10-year-old twins.
Tenon has been in jail since August for unrelated charges stemming from a traffic stop.
We found out the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested him then for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, unlawful speeding and driving while his license was suspended.
Tenon pleaded guilty to those August charges and Thursday he faced a judge who read the new, more serious set of charges he faces:
- Conspiracy to commit murder - Nelson said investigators know Tenon didn’t act alone in the crime
- Accessory after the fact to a capital felony
- Child abuse - Because Bridegan’s then-2-year-old daughter Bexley was directly in harm’s way during the shooting, Nelson said
- Second-degree murder
Tenon appeared in person before a judge who said another judge had already reviewed his arrest warrant and found probable cause on all charges. He will remain in jail without bond.
Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson explained the significance of these charges.
“Two or more people agree to commit a crime and that crime -- you go out and you acquire the weapon or you determine the manner of travel if you do any of the things and if you are charged with any of those things, you are charged as a principal,” Carson said. “They would use evidence collected at that scene to perhaps collect evidence and connect to him. It takes some time for DNA to be processed. Or they could have connected this to the firearm.”
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Prosecutors said Wednesday they will be pursuing a first-degree murder charge in the case, an upgrade from second-degree, which would mean Bridegan’s murder was premeditated.
Nelson said Wednesday investigators don’t believe Tenon acted alone and said his arrest warrant will be sealed from the public for 30 days.
The judge on Thursday said she will appoint the public defender’s office to Tenon’s case. Tenon’s next court appearance in this case will be on Thursday, February 16. His sentencing hearing on the charges related to the traffic stop will be on Tuesday, January 31.