Florida Mom Texted, ‘I Want Him Gone,’ Before Hitman Shot Her Microsoft Executive Ex, Police Say

shanna gardner

Mugshot Shanna Gardner.

Shanna Gardner is a Florida mom who is accused of conspiring with her husband Mario Fernandez to hire a hitman to murder her ex-husband, Microsoft Executive Jared Bridegan.

Jacksonville Beach Police Department Detective Chris Johns testified at a May 15 bond hearing that police obtained text messages between Gardner and a female friend in which they made comments that authorities believe referred to the death of Bridegan, who was shot to death outside his car in 2022.

Johns accused Gardner of texting the friend, “I’m not even joking, I want him gone.”

Bridegan’s brother told police that Gardner told him she was so angry she had considered hiring a hitman “to take him out,” referring to Jared Bridegan, according to Johns. She told another person she wanted to “shut Jared up,” Johns testified. “She was very unhappy sharing the kids with Mr. Bridegan,” according to Johns.

Johns also testified about other text messages unearthed between Gardner and a female friend. Gardner also discussed that multiple times Fernandez was so close to Bridegan he could have caused his death, Johns testified.

“She hated Jared” and “couldn’t stand the fact she had shared custody with him,” Johns said of Gardner. They were divorced in 2015, he said, and they were consistently in court “at least annually. Pretty much every aspect of the child custody was litigated.” They no longer had “any type of verbal communication” about their children, Johns said, and they weren’t even able to be in the same together. They co-parented “through the court,” Johns said.

According to Fox News, Gardner had two children with Bridegan, and Bridegan also had two children with his wife Kirsten Bridegan. Gardner is seeking to be freed on bond pending trial, according to First Coast News. Action News Jax reported that the judge is taking the request under advisement.

Prosecutors called the death a “contract killing” in the bond hearing.

Bridegan, a father of four, was murdered in a roadway on February 16, 2022, according to First Coast News, which reported that “as he was turning out of the neighborhood onto a narrow, dimly lit section of the road, a tire had been placed in the street.” He was shot when he opened the door “to presumably move the tire out of the road,” First Coast News reported.

Courts documents confirm that authorities observed a “damaged tire on the ground in front of the Volkswagen.” Bridegan was lying on the ground by the open driver’s side door, the documents say.

Jared Bridegan’s Toddler Daughter Was in the Car When He Was Shot to Death, Johns Testified

When Johns arrived at the murder scene, Bridegan was already deceased, and a child, age 2 and a half years old, was in the vehicle, the victim’s daughter with his second wife, according to Johns. When he arrived at the scene, a Good Samaritan had grabbed the child from her car seat and taken her to their vehicle, and given her a blanket, Johns testified.

“She was very upset, crying, scared,” Johns said of the child. According to Johns, a few rounds struck the interior of the vehicle. One shattered the window just in front of the girl’s car seat. Bridegan was shot to death, he said.

The girl said she heard a lot of sound, “boom, boom,” and that she had to cover her ears, and her “daddy was sick and on the ground, and needed a doctor,” the detective testified.

Johns said that police arrested Gardner, and two other people, Henry Tenon and Gardner’s husband, Mario Fernandez. Henry Tenon was accused in the murder of Bridegan, according to Johns. Tenon was a tenant at a rental property of Fernandez and Gardner, and he was approached by Mario Fernandez “asking him if he would participate in a homicide,” Johns testified. He said initially he denied the request, according to Johns.

Fernandez later explained that the couple would invest $150,000 into a business, so he agreed to be involved, Johns said. Fernandez would get a firearm and they would “contrive a plan,” according to Johns. Initially, the plan was to kidnap Bridegan and murder him in another location, Johns said.

“This needs to happen this week, and if he didn’t get it done, his marriage was going to end,” Johns said Fernandez is accused of telling Tenon.

The Detective Testified That Shanna Gardner Sent a Friend a Text Message That Read, ‘I Would Love to See Him Get a Lethal Injection’

Johns testified that Gardner sent a female friend a text message about Bridegan that read, “I would love to see him get a lethal injection.”

“Ms. Gardner is upset. She says, ‘Is it too late to get a hit man I’m serious.’ I think Ms. Jensen is trying to talk her down a bit. Then they move on to does she know anyone who could actually carry this out,” Johns testified.

According to Johns, she also texted with a friend in code, referring to “funeral potatoes” and “casserole.” Johns believed the funeral potatoes and casserole comments referred to Bridegan’s death. They used the nickname “stupid” to refer to Bridegan, Johns testified. They moved on to “how to cause his death,” Johns testified.

He said when police first interviewed Gardner “she was very forthcoming.” He said she was “very talkative” and provided “a lot of context.” She claimed Bridegan was manipulative and said they had a “terrible divorce,” according to Johns, who added that Gardner told police Bridegan was not physically abusive.

Johns testified that Gardner felt it might be a drug deal “gone wrong” or a gang initiation and suggested that police should look into his current wife.

According to First Coast News, Henry Tenon admitted he was the “triggerman” and pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge, agreeing to testify in the trials of Gardner and Fernandez.

Johns also testified that there was a trust that was funded by Gardner’s parents so that Bridegan could have no access to it.

According to First Coast News, Gardner’s attorney Jose Baez said there were no text messages or phone calls between Gardner and Tenon.