Mario Fernandez Saldana has been arrested and charged in the murder of Jared Bridegan, a former Microsoft executive who was shot and killed in the middle of a Jacksonville Beach street last year in ‘a targeted ambush’ as authorities would have it called.
He is the second person to be charged after Tenon, the shooter.
The husband of murdered Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife was arrested in Kissimmee, Florida is now indicted on first-degree murder charges Thursday, March 16, over the February 2022 slaying.
He was also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony and child abuse. He will be extradited to Duval County.
Mario Fernandez Saldana is married to Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife.
Gardner-Fernandez and Bridegan shared twins and had been locked in a contentious custody battle shortly before his killing. ABC reports.
Bridegan, a devout Mormon who had been a software developer for Microsoft, was killed in front of his daughter Bexley, whom he shared with his second wife, Kristen.
The executive had noticed a tire in the road and pulled over to remove it when he was fatally shot in what police called a planned ambush.
Little Bexley was in the backseat and alone in the car for a few minutes until a passerby noticed her father dead on the road and called 911.
State Attorney Melissa Nelson declined to reveal the motive behind Fernandez Saldana’s alleged involvement, saying she was limited in what she could share due to the ongoing investigation.
She however confirmed that he was the former landlord of Henry Tenon, the man arrested in January for allegedly pulling the trigger.
At the time of Tenon’s arrest, Nelson said they knew that he ‘did not act alone.’
Nelson said that relationship was the ‘single link’ tying Tenon to Bridegan.
Saldana was arrested just a few hours after his former tenant and occasional handyman Henry Tenon pleaded guilty to second-degree murder charges in the killing, First Coast News said.
Gardner-Fernandez and Saldana had reportedly split following Bridegan’s killing but both previously denied any involvement in the crime.
Their Jacksonville Beach neighbors told The Post earlier this year that Saldana once killed a local cat.
‘The whole thing was very, very frightening,’ the neighbor said. ‘It was very disturbing.’
Gardner-Fernandez, who comes from a high-profile Mormon family, left the Florida home in November and moved to Richland, Washington, with the 10-year-old twins she shared with the slain Microsoft employee.
She is said to have given up on religion after splitting from her first husband, with their marriage reportedly ending after she had an affair.
Following his split with Gardner-Fernandez in 2015, Jared Bridegan went on to marry Kirsten, mother of Bexley and another daughter, London.
‘I’m not surprised, to be honest,’ Kirsten Bridegan said shortly after Henry Tenon’s January arrest.
‘This was orchestrated, this was planned and this was specific to Jared.’ The widow said their daughter Bexley has struggled since her father’s murder.
‘She heard the noises of the shots that killed her dad, and she was alone wondering what happened to him, and he’s not answering her for minutes — and minutes are an eternity for a child,’ she said.
Phone records also showed that Tenon and Fernandez Saldana had 35 ‘phone contacts’ in February 2022, the month Bridegan was killed, and dozens more between March and June of 2022, according to the warrant.
Tenon pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon on Thursday and has agreed to ‘testify truthfully against those he worked with to murder Jared Bridegan,’ Nelson said.
Tenon was promised a prison sentence of 15 years to life.