Cops Finally Nab Suspect in Brazen Execution of Microsoft Exec

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos by Getty, Kirsten Bridegan / Jacksonville Beach Police Department
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos by Getty, Kirsten Bridegan / Jacksonville Beach Police Department

For almost a year, Jared Bridegan’s family anxiously waited for authorities to track down whoever was responsible for fatally shooting the 33-year-old Microsoft executive as he tried to move a tire in the middle of a quiet residential Florida road—with his toddler still in the car.

On Wednesday, that day finally came, with Jacksonville authorities announcing the arrest of Henry Tenon. He was charged with several crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder with a weapon, accessory after the fact to a capital felony, and child abuse.

Authorities did not give any details about the evidence that led to Tenon’s arrest, his alleged motive, or any relationship between him and Bridegan. But public records show that Tenon lived at a Jacksonville home that, until October, was owned by Bridegan’s ex-wife’s new husband.

“We know that Henry Tenon did not act alone,” State Attorney Melissa Nelson said Wednesday.

Jacksonville Beach Police Department release a photo of suspect Henry Tenon in the murder of Jared Bridegan
Jacksonville Beach Police Department

Court records obtained by The Daily Beast show that Tenon has a lengthy criminal history, including 10 instances of driving with a suspended or revoked license. He has prior convictions for misdemeanor battery and burglary. He has been locked up at the John E. Goode Pre-Trial Detention Facility since Aug. 18, 2022, after he was arrested for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, driving while his license was suspended or revoked, and unlawful speeding, jail records state.

Authorities say that on Feb. 16, 2022, Bridegan came upon a tire in the middle of the road as he was on his way back home to St. Augustine after dropping off his twins from a previous marriage at his ex-wife’s house. He was shot multiple times just as he got out of his Volkswagen Atlas to briefly move the obstacle.

Bridegan’s unharmed two-year-old daughter, one of two kids he shares with his wife Kirsten Bridegan, was still strapped into her car seat when a passerby drove by about three minutes later. When police arrived, they noted that his car’s emergency lights were flashing and the tire was still in the middle of the road. Bridegan was lying next to his open driver's door.

“This was a planned and targeted ambush and murder. The ruthless homicide has pained our community,” Jacksonville Beach Police Chief Gean Paul Smith said during a Wednesday press conference. “He was gunned down in cold blood.”

The Mystery Behind the Brazen Execution of a Microsoft Boss

The arrest marks the first major development in what authorities previously called the “targeted” slaying of Bridegan, a senior design manager whom friends and family described as “the last person to have any enemies.” However, the case also pulled back the curtain on the Mormon dad’s complicated life, including his contentious previous marriage and divorce, and pushed his ex-wife into the line of fire for tabloid gossip.

As previously reported by The Daily Beast, Bridegan and his ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, had a bitter divorce in February 2015 after six years together—which resulted in about 300 entries and motions in St. Johns County court. The filings ranged from accusations of financial and mental manipulation to arguments about what school their twin daughters should attend.

On several public records databases, one of Tenon’s addresses is listed as a Jacksonville home that was previously owned by Gardner Fernandez’s current husband, Mario Fernandez. Property records show that Fernandez purchased the home in 2017 and sold it last October.

Gardner-Fernandez moved to Washington with the twins amid media scrutiny over Bridegan’s death. A spokesperson for Gardner-Fernandez said Wednesday that “Shanna has nothing to share at this juncture” and “will continue to wait for additional news and a resolution.”

“She is focusing on her children and keeping them her priority,” the spokesperson added, noting that she is not sure where Fernandez is located. (Gardner-Fernandez has previously denied any wrongdoing.)

For Mallary Beaudin, who met Bridegan in high school through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Wednesday’s arrest means “we are finally coming closer to getting a confirmation of what we have all suspected.”

“I feel relief that we are getting insight into what the police have been up to,” Beaudin told The Daily Beast. “I’m proud of the work the investigators have done and I’m confident we are going to see justice for Jared. My heart goes out to Kirsten and all of the Bridegan family and I hope they feel the love and support from this community of people that loved Jared.”

After the combative divorce in 2015, friends and family of the “incredibly positive and incredibly kind” Bridegan told The Daily Beast that his main priorities were his children and moving on with his life.

“Everything he ever talked about revolved around [his children],” Nate Sanders, who hired Bridegan as a user experience designer for Utah software company Canopy in 2015, said in July.

After matching with Kirsten Bridegan in early 2017 on a dating app, the pair quickly became inseparable and got married in October of that year. Living in Florida to be close to Bridegan’s twins, Kirsten explained that as part of the custody agreement they got the girls every other week. During off weeks, the Bridegans would see the twins on Wednesdays for “date night.”

“It usually consisted of a dinner and a quick activity like...dessert, and then the parent would drop the kids back off at the other parent’s house,” Kirsten previously explained to The Daily Beast, noting that her husband was returning home from one of those “date nights” when he was fatally shot.

The now-widow told The Daily Beast in July that she was on the phone with her brother when Bridegan called, telling her he and their daughter were on the way home after a “good night” with the twins. Kirsten, who was at home with their other seven-month-old daughter that night, said Bridegan ended the short conversation by saying he was “almost home.”

“Now I know that within a few minutes, he was killed,” Kirsten said in July. “The next time somebody answered Jared’s phone, it was a police officer…who told me to come to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.”

Nelson, the state attorney, said Wednesday their investigation is ongoing and active, and Tenon’s arrest warrant will remain sealed for 30 days. He will have an initial appearance in Duval County Court next week, where Nelson said her team will keep a grand jury indictment for first-degree murder.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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