OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 3:08 PM – Thursday, March 16, 2023
The state attorney’s office made an announcement on Thursday concerning a second arrest in the murder of Jared Bridegan, a Florida father and Microsoft executive who was gunned down in front of his 2-year-old child on Feb. 16th, 2022.
The day that Jared Bridegan was killed, he had just dropped off his 10-year-old twin son and daughter at his ex-wife’s residence in Jacksonville Beach and was headed back home to St. Augustine, Florida.
With his 2-year-old daughter still in the car with him, Bridegan decided to pull his vehicle over to the side and put his hazard lights on so that he could move a tire that was in the middle of the road.
This is when police say the targeted ambush occurred and when Bridegan was shot multiple times at close range. Police made an additional note that nothing appeared to be stolen.
State attorney for Florida’s fourth judicial district, Melissa Nelson, and Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gene Paul Smith mentioned at a press conference that the husband of Bridegan’s ex-wife, Mario Fernandez, has now been arrested and charged for the murder.
Mario Fernandez, 35, who was the second husband of Bridegan’s ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, was taken in by authorities on Thursday morning in Orlando, Florida.
Gardner-Fernandez and Bridegan had a malicious divorce back in 2016 and they continued to battle over custody of their children and funds up until his passing.
Bridegan’s ex-wife comes from a very affluent Mormon family who owns a multimillion-dollar papercraft company.
An employee at a tattoo parlor said that Gardner-Fernandez had asked him if he knew anyone who could take matters into their own hands and “shut him up” shortly before the divorce.
The agents who paid Fernandez a visit were with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as officers with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.
This news comes after the first arrest of Henry Tenon, 61, who was charged on Jan. 25th with conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder with a weapon, and an accessory to a capital felony and child abuse.
Police concluded through their investigation that this could not have been a crime committed solely by one person and that both men were involved in the slaying.
Tenon was Fernandez’s former tenant, which is how the men knew each other.
Tenon agreed to “testify truthfully against those he worked with to murder Jared Bridegan,” they told reporters at the state attorney’s office in Jacksonville.
“Tenon’s cooperation has both corroborated evidence collected during the investigation and provided additional evidence against Mario Fernandez for his role in the planning and execution of Jared’s murder,” she added.
Nelson mentioned that “the investigation remains active and ongoing and has not stopped today with the arrest of Mario Fernandez.”
Fernandez’s arrest warrant was released Thursday, revealing gruesome new details.
The affidavit for his arrest warrant has been posted.
“Bullets struck the interior of the vehicle, in close proximity to where (his daughter Bexley) was strapped into her car seat,” the paperwork said.
Bridegan’s current wife and widow, Kirsten Bridegan, along with his brother Adam Bridegan, read a short testimony at the press conference.
“We have great relief knowing that two of the people behind my husband’s murder are now behind bars and are no longer a threat to our family. We are also still angry,” the widow said, detailing the heartbreaking loss for both her and their two children. “We have fought hard for the truth… We know there’s still a long way to go before all of those responsible are truly held accountable, but today is a very significant day for our family,” she continued.
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