ExWife of Slain Microsoft Exec Wished Good Luck to Hitman She Allegedly Paid for Murder Witness

In a shocking courtroom revelation, it was disclosed that Shanna Gardner, the ex-wife of slain Microsoft manager Jared Bridegan, allegedly wrote “good luck!” on a check made out to the hitman she hired to murder Bridegan in 2022. This testimony emerged during a bond hearing in Duval County, Florida, on Wednesday, where multiple witnesses testified to Gardner’s involvement in the brutal crime.

Jared Bridegan, a Microsoft executive, was fatally shot in front of his car on February 16, 2022. The incident occurred in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, when Bridegan encountered a tire placed deliberately in the middle of a secluded road. 

Prosecutors believe this setup was part of a meticulously planned murder plot orchestrated by Gardner and her second husband, Mario Fernandez Saldana. The couple allegedly offered $150,000 to Henry Tenon, a former tenant of Fernandez-Saldana, to carry out the assassination.

A crucial piece of evidence presented in court was a $5,000 check dated April 4, 2022, from Gardner and Saldana’s LLC, First Choice Home Rentals. The check, inscribed with the words “Kickstarter” and “Good luck!,” was addressed to Tenon. 

Detective Chris Johns of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department, the lead investigator on the case, testified that Tenon indicated this payment was the first of many, under the guise of an investment in his pallet company. In reality, the money was intended as payment for the homicide.

During the bond hearing, Gardner faced charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony, and child endangerment. The courtroom heard detailed testimonies outlining the chilling extent of the murder plot. 

Prosecutors described the arrangement between Gardner, Saldana, and Tenon as a “contract killing” aimed at eliminating Bridegan, with whom Gardner shared two children. Saldana is facing identical charges.

On the fateful day, Bridegan was driving with his then-2-and-a-half-year-old daughter in the back seat. After stopping to remove the tire from the road, Bridegan was ambushed and shot multiple times. His young daughter, traumatized by the incident, later recounted hearing a “boom boom” and said her “daddy was sick” after the shooting. 

Good Samaritans who arrived on the scene managed to rescue the toddler from the car, placing her in a different vehicle and wrapping her in a blanket.

In the aftermath of the murder, Gardner was questioned twice by Detective Johns. During these interviews, she suggested that the murder could have been the result of a drug deal gone wrong or a gang initiation. Gardner alleged that Sanctuary Blvd., the location of the shooting, was known for drug transactions in Jacksonville. However, investigators soon focused on Gardner and Saldana, uncovering a multi-year plot to kill Bridegan.

The detective’s testimony revealed that Saldana had multiple opportunities to carry out the murder but failed each time, referring to these instances as “missed opportunities.” According to Johns, Gardner’s frustrations over custody disputes with Bridegan often led to discussions about killing him, with Saldana proposing to “take care of Jared,” a euphemism for murder. These discussions and planning sessions spanned years, culminating in the fatal attack in February 2022.

Both Gardner and Fernandez-Saldana have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Henry Tenon, the alleged hitman, has admitted to pulling the trigger and has agreed to testify against Gardner and Saldana. This development strengthens the prosecution’s case, providing crucial inside information about the murder plot.

The murder of Jared Bridegan has had a profound impact on both his immediate and extended families. Bridegan’s widow, Kirsten, with whom he shared two children, has been left to navigate the aftermath of his violent death while caring for their young children. The court proceedings have brought to light the extent of the premeditated plot, adding to the emotional burden on the family.

The Jacksonville Beach community has been deeply affected by the murder. The case has drawn significant media attention, highlighting the shocking nature of the crime and the alleged involvement of Bridegan’s ex-wife. Community members have expressed their grief and support for the Bridegan family, participating in vigils and memorials to honor Jared’s memory.

As the legal process continues, investigators are meticulously piecing together the evidence to build a comprehensive case against Gardner and Saldana. The prosecution aims to demonstrate the calculated and deliberate nature of the murder plot, seeking justice for Jared Bridegan and his family.

The bond hearing has shed light on the gruesome details of Jared Bridegan’s murder, painting a disturbing picture of betrayal and premeditation. With Gardner and Saldana facing serious charges and Tenon’s testimony providing critical evidence, the case moves forward towards a trial. The outcome will have lasting implications for all parties involved, particularly the grieving family of Jared Bridegan, who continue to seek justice for their loved one.