JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Jacksonville Beach Police Department Chief Gene Paul Smith and State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced Wednesday an arrest has been made in the murder of St. Johns County father of 4 Jared Bridegan.
Nelson said Henry Tenon, 61, has been arrested and charged with the following crimes:
- 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
Nelson said Tenon did not act alone in the crime and his arrest warrant will be sealed for the next 30 days.
She said her office was sharing limited information to protect the integrity of the case. Neither Nelson or Smith took any questions from the media at the end of the news conference.
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.
Tenon appeared in court Thursday and will remain in jail without bond. Nelson said investigators will have to present the case to a grand jury to get a first-degree murder indictment.
Action News Jax has learned that Tenon previously lived at a home owned by Mario Fernandez, who is now married to Bridegan’s ex-wife Shanna Gardner-Fernandez. Bridegan and Gardner-Fernandez had 10-year-old twins together.
Bridegan was gunned down Feb. 16, 2022, in Jacksonville Beach after taking his twins and Bexley to dinner. The software engineer had just dropped off the twins at Gardner-Fernandez’s house when he encountered a tire in the one-way road.
Smith said Wednesday the “tire was purposely placed there to make him stop.”
Bridegan stepped out of his Volkswagen Atlas to move the tire and was repeatedly shot as Bexley watched from her car seat.
“This was a planned and targeted ambush and murder,” Smith said.
Early in the probe, police asked for the public’s help identifying a dark-blue Ford F-150 captured on surveillance footage near the crime scene, and there is a $55,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
According to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office inmate search, Tenon has been in jail since August on charges that include possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, driving while license suspended or revoked and unlawful speed.
Smith said JBPD would still like the public to come forward with any information they may have about Tenon or the case.
While working to learn more details about the suspects past, Action News Jax reached out to family members on Facebook messenger. One answered claiming to be suspect Henry Tenon’s son.
“I am in shock. I never thought my father would do something like this. My heart is broken, and I am praying for him! I am so sorry this happened to Mr. Bridegan and his family. They will be in my prayers too!,” Mikiel Tenon wrote in response to us.
Action News Jax also spoke to a man who lives in the Northwest Jacksonville where Tenon used to live and rented out for years. This is the same home that public records show used to be owned by the new husband of Bridegan’s ex-wife, Mario Fernandez.
The man didn’t want his name shared, but he told Action News Jax that he became acquainted with Tenon a few years ago when his dad lived next door to the suspect. He said his experiences with Tenon were always good and that he worked often and hard. He added that Tenon would help his father whenever he needed it.
He told Action News Jax that JBPD came to his house at least 4 times within the last year and the last time, ATF showed up. The man said they were looking for a truck, a weapon and DNA evidence. They ended up leaving with roughly 10 bags of items, including almost every electronic Tenon owned.
He added that Tenon drove two cars: a Ford Crown Victoria and sometimes a lighter blue Ford F-150. Tenon at some point in time was in the military but his role was unclear, according to the man.
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