Suspected Murderer Accepts Trial In Capital-Punishment State

The ex-wife of the Microsoft executive who was gunned down last year in front of his daughter, was indicted last week and charged with first-degree murder for her role in the ambush-style execution, and Florida prosecutors say they plan to seek the death penalty, CBS News reported.

State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced in a press conference last Thursday that Shanna Lee Gardner, 36, was arrested in Washington state and will be extradited to Florida to face trial.

Nelson told reporters that Gardner’s indictment confirms that she had a “central and key role” in the murder of Bridegan.

Florida prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty against Gardner’s current husband Mario Fernandez Saldana, who was arrested earlier this year and charged in Bridegan’s death.

Fernandez Saldana’s attorney Jesse Dreicer said in a statement that he is “optimistic” that his client, who pleaded not guilty, would be exonerated at trial.

Henry Arthur Tenon, 62, the triggerman in the case, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in March and has agreed to testify against both Gardner and Fernandez Saldana, according to State Attorney Nelson.

Under the plea agreement, Tenon will face 15 years to life rather than the death penalty.

Bridegan, a software developer with Microsoft, was ambushed after dropping off the two children he shared with Gardner on February 16, 2022.

Bridegan was driving home to St. Augustine with his 2-year-old daughter in the car when he stopped due to a tire in the road. The gunman approached as Bridegan was moving the tire, shooting him multiple times. When police arrived, Bridegan’s hazard lights were still on and his daughter was in her car seat unharmed.

Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gene Paul Smith told reporters in January that the tire was likely placed in the road to make Bridegan stop his vehicle.

After Bridegan’s murder, Gardner told multiple Florida outlets that she wasn’t involved.