A woman who allegedly ordered the beating of her Microsoft executive ex-husband will be extradited from Washington state to Florida to face murder charges — thanks to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The Sunshine State firebrand signed the order involving Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, 35, on Thursday after widespread speculation about whether he would take the plunge — especially given the attention the case has received.
Formerly of Jacksonville, Gardner-Fernandez is accused of masterminding a plot that saw her ex-husband, Jared Bridegan, 33, gunned down on a Jacksonville Beach road in February 2022 in front of her daughter from a new marriage.
After the murder, Gardner-Fernandez — the daughter of the owners of a multimillion-dollar paper manufacturing company — moved to the Pacific Northwest, to a town about 2,800 miles away without the death penalty.
Since then, law enforcement has identified and arrested the woman’s alleged accomplices – a 63-year-old hitman who admitted to the shooting and Gardner-Fernandez’s new husband.
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Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, seen here handcuffed in her new million-dollar home in Washington last month, could now face the death penalty for allegedly orchestrating the murder of her ex-husband, a Microsoft executive, who was killed in his former hometown of Jacksonville early last year.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the extradition order Thursday morning, after widespread speculation about whether he would take such action in the high-profile case.
Jared Bridegan was shot to death in front of his 2-year-old daughter, allegedly on Gardner-Fernandez’s orders, while driving baby Brexan – his child from another marriage – to his home in Jacksonville Beach.
Gardner-Fernandez’s arrest last August quickly followed, at her $1 million West Richland home, in front of her mother and the 12-year-old twins she shared with Jared.
She faces charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder – for which she now faces the death penalty.
The signing of the order was confirmed to DailyMail.com on Thursday by the Jacksonville State’s Attorney’s Office, which said Bridegan would not attend the extradition hearing scheduled for later in the day.
“The Gardner-Fernandez hearing continued until October 5 to allow Washington to receive the warrant,” the spokesperson said.
Florida’s 46th governor has yet to release a statement on his signing of the somewhat anticipated order, which Gardner Fernandez’s legal team vowed last month to fight.
That assertion came during the woman’s first hearing after her arrest on Aug. 16, by high-profile criminal defense attorney Hank Coxe — whom Gardner-Fernandez hired.
A spokesperson for DeSantis’ office, however, did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. The warrant is currently confirmed to be on its way to Benton County.
DeSantis’ state justice officials made clear a few weeks ago that they would seek the death penalty in Gardner Fernandez’s case — which goes back much further than his somewhat anticipated arrest in August.
Jared was lured from his car onto a quiet road by a tire that had been left in the middle of the road.
The Microsoft executive was found 3.5 km from Shanna’s home after dropping the children off on February 16. It was on a quiet road, where there were no security cameras.
Jared was shot on this road, surrounded by trees, in Jacksonville Beach. No cameras filmed the murder, which occurred after the late executive got out of his vehicle to remove a tire placed in the middle of the road.
Hitman Henry Tenon confessed to being the shooter earlier this year, waiting and ready to execute Bridegan when he came out to remove the obstacle from the road.
Five hundred and forty-seven days earlier, Bridegan, a father of four with the suspect, was killed in an execution just minutes from his ex-wife’s home.
He was shot multiple times at close range in what police described as an “ambush” and “targeted” attack – carried out by Danny Tenon, 61, former tenant of Gardner-Fernandez’s new husband, Mario Fernandez Saldana .
He is accused of hiring the long-toothed gunman — who is cooperating against his alleged co-conspirators as part of a plea deal — to shoot and kill Bridegan in a brutal murder in front of his two-year-old child. girl.
Committed on a quiet stretch of road lined with thick trees, the murder was not filmed by surveillance cameras.
At the time, Bridegan – a senior UX designer at Microsoft – was locked in a deeply acrimonious custody dispute with his ex-wife over twins Liam and Abby, years after their 2015 split.
On Feb. 16, Jared had just dropped off the twins he shares with Gardner-Fernandez at their mother’s house and was driving his daughter in the back seat when he encountered a tire in the middle of the road.
He stopped and got out to move the tire – but was shot by Tenon in the process.
“For it to be in this area, someone knew what they were doing. There are no cameras, there are no houses there. There is no Ring doorbell. Kirsten, his widow, told DailyMail.com at the time of his murder.
“There are trees and a one-way street.”
Police Tenon was arrested on unrelated charges earlier this year, but confessed to his role in the murder during questioning.
He told police that Saldana-Fernandez had hired him and was now willing to testify against him at trial. The couple met when he rented a house from her.
It’s unclear how Gardner-Fernandez met her new husband, but those who knew them before their arrest say she became “increasingly wild” as their romance progressed.
Shanna’s new husband, Mario Saldana-Fernandez, was indicted earlier this year and is awaiting trial. Once the owner of Tenon, he allegedly hired the 61-year-old to carry out the stunt.
Shanna with the couple’s twins Abby and Liam. At the time of Jared’s death, she made public appeals for his support on Facebook and Instagram.
She visited a tattoo parlor in 2015 to request a genital piercing – a request which shocked staff who said she looked like a “normal mother”.
“She went from this cute goody-two-shoes girl to this wild lady. I just remember thinking, Well, she’s a changed woman,” one employee said at the time.
Speaking at the time of the killing – shortly before Gardner-Fernandez moved to Washington with the help of his parents – Gene Paul Smith, then the Jacksonville Beach police chief, said Bridegan had been “shot bloody- cold”.
An investigation ensued, leading to the arrests of Tenlon, Saldana-Fernandez and, most recently, Gardner-Fernandez, who appeared unbothered by ATF body camera footage showing his recent arrest.
It’s unclear exactly what kind of new evidence led police to finally charge Gardener-Fernandez, who has kept a low profile since the murder — although Kirsten Bridegan, Jared’s widow, said she wasn’t surprised after having learned of Telon’s arrest last January, citing his ties to Gardner-Fernandez’s new husband
“To be honest, I’m not surprised,” she told Fox News at the time.
“They accused (Tenon) of conspiracy. This means there are more people. It was orchestrated, it was planned, and it was specific to Jared.
Last month, in a moving emotion, Kirsten, joined by her husband’s brother Adam, 36, told DailyMail.com of her “satisfaction” with Gardner-Fernandez’s arrest.
“There’s a satisfaction in knowing that the person who I believe was the driving force behind this isn’t getting the privileges that they would have taken from Jared,” she said.
“My personal opinion is that I trust (prosecutors) to make the best decision in this case and if that is the death penalty, then we support it.”
Gardner-Fernandez’s trial is scheduled to continue Oct. 5 in Florida. Five people have already been executed in the state this year.