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Mario Fernandez Saldana, charged with wife's ex-husband's murder, transferred to Duval County

Prosecutors say Mario Fernandez Saldana conspired to murder Jared Bridegan, the father of four shot to death in Jacksonville Beach in February 2022.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The video attached to this story is from a previous, related report.

Mario Fernandez Saldana, one of two men charged in the killing of Jacksonville beach father of four Jared Bridegan, was transferred to the custody of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Wednesday.

He has been booked into the Duval County Jail, records show.

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.

READ MORE: 'Pillow Talk': Can Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife testify in the murder case against her husband?

"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.

Gardner-Fernandez faces no charges in the case, but previously felt compelled to speak out after what she called 'sensationalistic media coverage and harassment' related to Bridegan’s murder. She is currently living in Washington state.

"We all remain committed to seeking the truth"

State Attorney Nelson said she would not disclose if more arrests were coming, but emphasized the case is far from over.

"Our investigation remains active and ongoing. And it has not stopped today with the arrest of Mario Fernandez Saldana. We all remain committed to seeking the truth -- and that is the entire truth -- and holding accountable every single individual involved in the murder Jared Bridegan."

Nelson says Tenon used to rent property from Fernandez Saldana but declined to provide factual details, like what evidence connects Tennon to Fernandez Saldana or what the motive for the murder may have been.  

"Mario's relationship with Tenon is greater than what we know. I don't know what it is but it's more than a landlord tenant relationship. Its got to be more than 'I use you as a handyman, to come to you to you to seek out' to commit such a heinous crime on somebody and then count on them keeping their mouth shut," Baughman said. 

The sworn testimony provided by Henry Tenon about Fernandez Saldana's involvement in the murder is redacted in the arrest warrant. Nelson said Tenon's statements both confirm what they knew and provide additional evidence. Additionally, she said that Tenon admitted he was the shooter. 

"They're not closing the investigation. It's still ongoing. As far as I know the reward is still out there for anymore information. What does that tell you? Is there another co-conspirator involved? Possibly," Baughman added. "It's safe to assume that maybe there is some digital data that was saved and or implicates another individual other than the two now that had been charged."

She said if the state decides to seek the death penalty, they will file that notice within 45 days of his arraignment, as required. 

No court date has been set for Fernandez Saldana. He was initially taken to the Orange County Jail, awaiting extradition to Jacksonville.

Calls and an email to his attorney were not immediately returned.

Watch SA Nelson answer questions about the investigation here. 

"We are still angry"

Jared Bridegan's widow, Kirsten Bridegan, also spoke at the press conference, saying her family was experiencing "many emotions": Relief knowing two people have been arrested for her husband's murder, but much residual anger. 

"We are also still angry," she said. "Angry that they were walking free while we were grappling with the reality that Jared wouldn't be here for any future memories, vacations or tender moments with our kids. Angry that our youngest, who was six months at the time of his death, will have no memories of her father. Angry there will be no new memories for Liam, Abby, Bexley, London or anyone who knew and loved Jarrett."

She said her family has "fought hard for the truth," and will continue to do so.

"Justice for Jared will not be stopped, and we will not be silenced. We know there's still a long way to go before all all those responsible are truly held accountable. But today is a very significant day for our family."

Watch Kirsten Bridegan's full statement here. 

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