JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One of two men charged in the killing of Jared Bridegan appeared in Duval County Court on Thursday morning.
Mario Fernandez Saldana appeared in front of a judge for the first time in Jacksonville. He is being held without bond. The judge said his next court date is scheduled for April 4.
Fernandez Saldana was taken into custody at his home in Orlando on March 16 and held at the Orange County Jail since then. Just hours later, his arrest was announced to the public at a press conference.
While Fernandez Saldana was being arrested, a grand jury indicted him on charges of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony and child abuse. At 11:20, the State Attorney's Office sent out an email announcing a "significant update" in the case.
Fernandez Saldana is married to Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, Bridegan’s first wife, with whom he had two children. State Attorney Nelson pointedly noted that fact in announcing the indictment. The pair split in an acrimonious divorce followed by a years-long custody battle -- something also noted in an otherwise heavily redacted arrest warrant.
"One in every five domestic murders like this are murders similar to this if the victim knew the person, and sometimes they're related to them, right? Through marriage through blood, whatever it may be," First Coast News Crime and Safety Expert Mark Baughman said.