Footage of the arrest of Mario Fernandez, the man accused of orchestrating the murder of Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan, has been released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr Fernandez, a landlord, is accused of hiring one of his tenants, Henry Tenon, to ambush and kill Mr Bridegan near Jacksonville, Florida in February 2022. Mr Tenon reportedly admitted to police that he pulled the trigger the night Mr Bridegan was killed.
The release of the arrest footage comes in the wake of a third arrest in the murder case. Mr Bridegan’s ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez — who is married to Mr Fernandez — was also arrested and charged with first degree murder.
Mr Bridegan and Ms Gardner-Fernandez were embroiled in a contentious divorce proceeding prior to his death.
In the recently released bodycamera footage obtained by News4Jax, Mr Fernandez can be seen sitting in handcuffs in the back of a pickup truck speaking with police investigators. He is then placed in the back of a patrol car.
Mr Fernandez was arrested in March.
In the footage, he can be heard reminiscing about using beepers and remembering phone numbers, laughing about being short, and asking about how deputies deal with tall people who are placed in the back of cramped patrol cars.
He is facing first degree murder, conspiracy, and child abuse charges. He faces a potential death penalty if convicted.
On the night of the shooting, Mr Bridegan was returning from his ex-wife’s house near Jacksonville after dropping off two of his children. On his way home, he found a tire in the road blocking his path. When Mr Bridegan stepped out of his vehicle, he was shot — allegedly by Mr Tenon — and killed. Bullets hit the interior of Mr Bridegan’s car, narrowly missing his toddler from another marriage.
After the shooting Mr Bridegan’s ex-wife said she was “devastated” by the murder and insisted she had nothing to do with his violent death.
A grand jury indicted her on Thursday, after which he was taken into custody in Washington state. She moved out of Florida after Mr Bridegan was murdered.
Ms Gardner-Fernandez’s family issued a statement in the wake of her arrest.
“Words cannot accurately express the depth of our sadness. Family is our top priority. We love our daughter and are focused on supporting her and our entire family as we help our grandchildren navigate this difficult and very confusing time,” her parents, Shelli and Sterling Gardner, said.
“For their sake and all involved, we caution against further speculation and request privacy as the legal process runs its course. In the meantime, we are thankful for the continued support, thoughtfulness and prayers being so generously shared by friends and loved ones.”