A mom of four was tragically shot to death in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, nearly two years ago — and now his ex-wife has been arrested for his murder in a case that has spanned 18 months and across multiple states.
Melissa Nelson, the state attorney for Jacksonville’s Fourth Judicial District, announced Thursday that Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, 35, has been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and child endangerment.
“This investigation has uncovered the truth,” Nelson told reporters. “Shanna Gardner’s indictment acknowledges her key role in the cold, calculated, and premeditated murder of Jared Bridegan.”
Bridegan, 33, was a software developer for Microsoft who had twins with Gardner-Fernandez. He was shot to death by an unknown assailant on Feb. 16, 2022, while he was outside of his car, dropping off the twins at their mother’s home. Bridegan’s young daughter, Bexley, was in the car at the time of the shooting and witnessed the event.
The investigation is said to have unveiled new evidence that was initially kept secret and that had pointed to Gardner-Fernandez as the person behind the killing.
“From very, very early on, everything in my soul and body told me that she was behind it,” Bridegan’s widow, Kirsten Bridegan, said during a press conference. His brothers, Adam and Justin, also stood next to her as she tearfully recalled their endless search for justice over the last 547 days.
2 suspects have already been arrested in the case — Mario Fernandez, Gardner-Fernandez’s husband, and his former tenant, Henry Tenon. Tenon has reportedly cooperated with authorities to build their case against Gardner-Fernandez.
ATF Special Agent Bob Bryson reiterated the agency’s commitment to justice for Bridegan’s family during the news conference. “We remain committed to this investigation, no matter where it takes us,” he said.
Gardner-Fernandez was arrested on Thursday at about 9 a.m. in West Richland, Washington. This is where she had been living since amid the mounting public scrutiny in Jacksonville Beach.
The state attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty against Gardner-Fernandez and her husband. Assistant State Attorney Rich Komando said, “We are taking a very aggressive approach in this case… We want justice for the widow and the Bridegan family.”
Kirsten also pleaded with the Gardner family to allow the Bridegan twins to see their half-sisters, Bexley and London — emphasizing that they are still family, despite the tragedy.
Since the investigation continues to unfold, everyone involved in the case hopes for peace and justice as the Bridegan family continues their pursuit of closure.