Jared Bridegan's ex-wife Shanna Gardner is seen in her mugshot after she pleaded not guilty to multiple charges relating to her ex-husband's  murder

Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife Shanna Gardner is seen in her mugshot after she pleaded not guilty to multiple charges relating to her ex-husband’s  murder 

The ex-wife of murdered Microsoft executive Jared Bridegan told her best friend that she would ‘happily’ watch her ex-husband be ‘given a lethal injection’ and celebrate his death with a casserole of ‘funeral potatoes’, DailyMail.com can reveal.

According to prosecutors who read the chilling text messages in Duval County Courthouse Wednesday during a bond hearing for Shanna Gardner had been plotting his death for years, repeatedly asking her friend how she could find a hitman to ‘do magic’ and ‘make him disappear’. 

Bridegan was shot dead on February 16, 2022, in what prosecutors allege was a murder-for-hire plot contrived by his ex-wife, her husband and his tenant. 

Gardner, 36, who moved to her home state of Washington following the murder was charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit first degree murder and solicitation to commit a capital felony and child abuse last November and extradited back to Florida where she has remained in custody.

Her husband, Mario Fernandez Saldana, 35, was charged with the same crimes while his former tenant, Henry Tenon, 62, has already pleaded guilty to second degree murder for his part.

On Wednesday, prosecutors pushed back at Gardner’s latest attempt to post bond by calling Jacksonville Beach Police Department Lead Detective Chris Johns to the stand.

Jared Bridegan was shot multiple times at close range in what police described as an 'ambush' and 'targeted' attack on February 16, 2022, in front of his then two-year-old daughter in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Jared Bridegan was shot multiple times at close range in what police described as an ‘ambush’ and ‘targeted’ attack on February 16, 2022, in front of his then two-year-old daughter in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

On Wednesday a bond hearing was held for Shanna Gardner who has lawyered up with Jose Baez – who has previously represented Casey Anthony and Aaron Hernandez

On Wednesday a bond hearing was held for Shanna Gardner who has lawyered up with Jose Baez – who has previously represented Casey Anthony and Aaron Hernandez

Shelli Gardner, Shanna's mother, was seen present in court for her daughter's bond hearing on Wednesday

Shelli Gardner, Shanna’s mother, was seen present in court for her daughter’s bond hearing on Wednesday 

Megan White, Gardner's eldest sister, arrived at court to testify at the bail hearing

Megan White, Gardner’s eldest sister, arrived at court to testify at the bail hearing

Johns told the court that Gardner was motivated to conspire to kill her ex by a ‘hatred’ of him following their acrimonious divorce in 2015, a desire for sole custody of their twins and a hunger to have control over a trust fund set up for her by her parents – something conditional on her having ‘no legal entanglements’ with Bridegan.

According to Johns, text messages exchanged between Gardner and her best friend Kim Jensen over a period of years show her consistently speaking of ways to ‘destroy’ the man she referred to as ‘stupid’.

Shanna's husband, Mario Fernandez Saldana, 35, was charged with the same crimes

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Shanna’s husband, Mario Fernandez Saldana, 35, was charged with the same crimes 

He said, ‘This included feeding him things to give him a heart attack. She also said the best time for “magic” would be when they’re amicable.’

Breathtakingly, Johns also revealed that Gardner had pointed the finger of suspicion at Bridegan’s widow, Kirsten, with whom he has two infant daughters, suggesting they should look into her as a suspect in the aftermath of his death.

But despite her efforts allegedly to mislead them, the detective revealed that investigators had quickly eliminated all but Gardner and Fernandez from their long list of suspects.

And he stated that Tenon, who is co-operating with prosecutors, had provided a statement in which he said he had been offered $150,000 by Fernandez in the form of an investment in his pallet company in return for killing Bridegan.

According to Johns, Tenon initially rejected the request but agreed once the amount had been set. He said, ‘He stated that in exchange for the money Mr. Fernandez would supply a firearm.’

He told officers that the initial plan was to kidnap Mr. Bridegan and take him to another location and murder him.

Shelli and Sterling, Gardner's parents, clutched each other's hands as they left at the end of the day

Shelli and Sterling, Gardner’s parents, clutched each other’s hands as they left at the end of the day  

The family were seen together after the bond hearing ended with no decision

The family were seen together after the bond hearing ended with no decision 

According to his statement this conversation took place in late 2021 but, the detective said, ‘After returning from a Hawaii trip in February Mr. Fernandez approached Mr. Tenon and stated that this needed to happen this week. If he didn’t get it done that his marriage was going to end.’

Bridegan was killed four days after Gardner and Fernandez returned to Florida.

According to the detective there were times when Fernandez followed Bridegan trying to identify the ‘best moments’ he could harm him. He said that Gardner told Jensen, ‘There were times Mario was so close to him he could have reached out and grabbed Jared and caused his death.’

Gardner sat impassive as the detective outlined what he presented as her motivation and role in the plotting the murder of her ex-husband.

She had walked into the courtroom in handcuffs, the clink of her ankle shackles clearly audible and winked at her mother, Shelly in the public gallery.

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Her hair fell in long waves down her back and was partially tied back in a half ponytail. The former Cross Fit fanatic who has been in custody since last October appeared notably slighter than when photographed by DailyMail.com shortly after her ex-husband’s murder in 2022.

Then, she wore a T-shirt bearing the words, ‘I’m fine/It’s fine/Everything’s fine.’ Today she swapped her orange prison jumpsuit for grey pants, a maroon blouse and black cardigan. 

Henry Tenon, 62, confessed to the plot under questioning for a different crime

Mario Fernandez Saldana, 35, has also been implicated in the plot by police with his wife

Suspected gunman Henry Tenon, 62, (left) has said he is willing to testify that Mario Fernandez Saldana, 35, (right)and his wife hired him to kill Jared

Shanna is pictured at a previous court hearing where she pleaded not guilty alongside her high-powered attorney Jose Baez

Shanna is pictured at a previous court hearing where she pleaded not guilty alongside her high-powered attorney Jose Baez 

Bridegan’s widow Kirsten took her seat in courtroom 308 shortly before 1pm. She wore a cornflower blue dress and studiously avoided looking towards the opposite side of courtroom to the bench in which the Gardners sat.

Kirsten has repeatedly begged the Gardners to allow her contact with Bridegan’s twins, Liam and Abbie. They have custody of the children – stepchildren whom Kirsten loved and effectively lost the day her husband was murdered.

While Kirsten sat in a section of supporters filled to capacity, the Gardners appeared relatively isolated, tucked at the end of a bench accompanied by only a handful of family and friends.

Kirsten wept as prosecutors rehearsed the scene in which her husband was shot, February 16, 2022, while his then two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Bexley sat just feet away in her car seat.

Bridegan, 33, was driving home after dropping his twins from his first marriage at their mother’s home in Jacksonville Beach when he stopped to move a tire that, police believe, was deliberately placed on the road to lure him from his vehicle.

Jared is seen with his widow Kristen, their two daughters, and the twins he shared with Shanna

Jared is seen with his widow Kristen, their two daughters, and the twins he shared with Shanna

He was gunned down at close range while his infant daughter Bexley – then just two years old and one of two children from his second marriage – was strapped in her child seat in the back of the car.

Bridegan was shot dead in what police described as a ‘targeted attack’ when taking his usual route home having dropped the twins he shared with his ex-wife back at what was then her home.

As part of the contentious custody agreement following Bridegan and Shanna’s divorce in 2016, the exes had a one week on, one week off, arrangement with twins, Abbie and Liam, now 10.

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The parent who did not have the children on any given week took them out to dinner that Wednesday.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for both Gardner and Fernandez, who have pleaded not guilty. Tenon is co-operating with prosecutors and facing a sentence of at least 15 years. 

The defense called several witnesses including Gardner’s oldest sister Meghan White in a bid to paint the picture of Gardner as the antithesis of a flight risk. According to White, her parents bought a beach house in Jacksonville Beach following Bridegan’s death with the express intent of visiting Gardner there.

In fact, White recalled, her sister broke down and cried when they made the drive cross country as she relocated to West Richland, Washington State. She said, ‘She said she was heartbroken because this was her home and she felt she was being run out of her home.’

She added that she had a ‘special connection’ with her son who suffers from a heart condition and that both her children are suffering because of their mother’s absence. Gardner asked for a tissue and appeared to wipe away tears as her sister spoke.

After Bridegan's murder, she wore a T-shirt bearing the words, 'I'm fine/It's fine/Everything's fine'

After Bridegan’s murder, she wore a T-shirt bearing the words, ‘I’m fine/It’s fine/Everything’s fine’

Prosecutors claimed that Bridegan’s desire to raise his children within the Mormon faith was a point of contention between him and his ex-wife, the defense called a former bishop of the Church of the Latter Day Saints to testify that Gardner was still an active member of her ‘ward’ or parish.

In fact, according to John Curry, she periodically attended services with her daughter, Abbie, who wanted to be baptized and said she showed no indication of any opposition to that course of action.

They also called local attorney, Henry Cox who had represented Gardner following Tenon and Fernandez Saldana’s arrest to testify that he had told investigators that Gardner was willing to voluntarily surrender should they wish to arrest her and that she had stayed close to Jacksonville and its jurisdiction for five months after Fernandez Saldana’s arrest waiting to be asked to do so.

Judge London Kite did not make a ruling on whether to grant Gardner bond after a hearing that lasted more than six hours. Instead, she said she would take it under advisement and rule by order some time between now and the next court date which is scheduled for May 24. 

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