Ex-wife arrested for murder of Microsoft executive

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The ex-wife of Jared Bridegan, a former Microsoft executive who was gunned down in front of his 2-year-old daughter in the winter of 2022, has been charged with murder, Florida prosecutors said.

A fourth circuit grand jury on Thursday indicted Shanna Gardner-Fernandez on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder and child abuse over Bridegan's slaying.

Gardner-Fernandez was arrested Thursday morning by ATF Washington agents in West Richland, Wash., and is expected to be extradited to Florida to face the newly filed charges.

Melissa Nelson, state attorney for Florida's Fourth Judicial circuit, announced the charges during a press conference to reporters, stating they will seek the death penalty.

"This investigation has uncovered the truth of Jared's murder," she said.

Bridegan was found dead from multiple gunshots on Feb. 12, 2022, in a Jacksonville Beach roadway after dropping off the 9-year-old twins he shared with Gardner-Fernandez at the house she lived in with her new partner, Mario Fernandez-Saldana.

Authorities said he was dropping off the children following a "date night" Bridegan had with them and a 2-year-old daughter shared with his second wife, Kirsten Bridegan.

After dropping the children off, he drove down a dark road but stopped at a tire that was laying in the way. Authorities said that as he exited the vehicle to remove the obstacle, he was shot several times as his daughter sat in the back seat.

Fernandez-Saldana was arrested in March when he was indicted on the same charges Gardner-Fernandez was indicted with on Thursday.

A third suspect, Henry Tenon, a former tenant of Fernandez-Saldana, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a weapon for his involvement in the crime and has agreed to testify against accomplices.

Nelson offered no explanation nor detailed new evidence in the case on which she said during the brief press conference that she would make no further public comment on.

"Henry Tenon did not act alone. Mario Fernandez did not plan alone. And Shanna Gardner's indictment acknowledges her central and key role in the cold, calculated and premeditated murder of Jared Bridegan," she said.

Following the press conference, Bridegan's family spoke to media, expressing their gratitude to those who helped to bring a conclusion to this stage of the tragedy.

"For 547 days, we hoped and prayed that this day would come," an emotional Kirsten said.

"Shanna's arrest ends one horrific chapter in our pursuit for justice for Jared, and now we open a new one. This next chapter will be excruciating, but we are confident in the ability of the state's attorney's office and law enforcement to bring truth to light.

"We expect to see justice carried out to the full extent of the law."