By BETH HEMPHILL and MATT JOHNSON
ATLANTA (Court TV) — Crime and Justice Correspondent Matt Johnson sat down with the brother of Jared Bridegan, a 33-year-old Microsoft executive, who was gunned down in front of his two-year-old daughter on February 16, 2022.
Bridegan’s ex-wife, Shanna Gardener-Fernandez, was indicted last week, making her the third arrest in the case. Henry Tenon and Shanna’s current husband, Mario Fernandez-Saldana, had already been charged. Tenon, who was arrested in January, previously pleaded guilty. He admitted he pulled the trigger, and agreed to testify against Fernandez-Saldana.
Jared’s brother Adam Bridegan tells Court TV that he and his wife actually introduced Jared and his former wife Shanna, whose relationship turned toxic after many years. Adam also talks about the unimaginable pain his family, especially Jared’s children and current wife, Kirsten, have gone through as they grieve and prepare for trial.
Court TV: What do you miss most about your brother?
Bridegan: Honestly, there are so many things that I miss about him. I miss talking to him about so many various topics — just catching up on business, stocks and technology, what’s coming out with the recent release from Apple, cars — all of the things that we used to chat about. I just miss that brotherly figure in my life that, you know, someone that we could confide in. And there’s a massive gap, I would say, in our family with the loss of Jared. So, I think it’s a culmination of a lot of things, but just having someone to talk to, really.
Court TV: Does the foundation help?
Bridegan: It absolutely helps, right? The foundation has given us something to unite with and come together and just have positive influence in the lives of other victims. It allows us to take our grief and put it into action for helping others. And I think that’s exactly what Jared would want us to do. I think he definitely wanted us to get closure. And then I think he would want us to take the pain and the suffering, and turn it into something positive and give back to the community. And that’s exactly what the foundation is doing.
Court TV: What’s your reaction to the arrest with Shanna? Did that surprise you at all?
Bridegan: It absolutely surprised all of our family that we would get to this point. It’s one of your worst fears being realized. And what I mean by that is, worst fears, knowing what this would mean for Jared’s children, knowing what this would mean for Kirsten, and knowing what this would mean for our family and for just the legacy, right? Just having that come to pass. It’s one thing to to wait for it and and to see where the evidence takes us. But to get to the point where, you know, it’s an indictment and there’s four counts, it just became very real. And it’s still very surreal for us to process.
Court TV: Were you surprised that Mario was also involved, or that they were both involved? What surprises you in the co-conspirator-alleged allegations here?
Bridegan: Honestly, I think all of it is surprising if everything that they allege is true. It’s deeply concerning to our family and just devastating to what our family has had to endure and what we’ve had to suffer. And, you know, we look forward to being able to review the evidence and find the truth. But I wouldn’t say surprises is the right reaction. I think it’s just shocking, if everything that they’ve outlined is true, then it is very shocking to us as a family.
Court TV: Were there any warning signs in their relationship or after their relationship when he was married to Shanna?
Bridegan: Unfortunately, those are those are details that I really can’t get into right now.
Court TV: How are you bracing for the upcoming trial?
Adam Bridegan: We as a family are — this is our first time ever having to endure something like this, at all. Right? So, I think we are very unprepared and for what this all means and the roller coaster of emotions that we’re going to experience, it’s going to be a very long and painful road for us to have to learn the details and to hear the evidence. And unfortunately, we will have to relive a lot of the things. And so I think we’re doing as best we can and just to prepare ourselves mentally, to rest, to just go in with our eyes wide open as far as what to expect. But we expect this to be a very lengthy process, given what we know, and just how complex and how long it’s going to take.
So, with family and friends, and the support of the community, I think everyone is really looking forward to getting the answers. And I think the answers will provide the closure that we need as a family.
Court TV: How are the kids holding up?
Adam Bridegan: Yeah, I… I would want anyone listening to this just to try to understand the magnitude of pain that this has caused. Right. You’re talking about amazing children who are now going to, you know… had to endure and grieve the loss of their father, who was taken tragically, and now, you know, endure a trial with their mother.
It’s all around just sad. And we could really use the support of the community and the viewers just to send, you know, prayers and good vibes. We’ll take it all. I think all of us want to see the children be reunited. And I think as siblings, if you knew their relationship and you could see the love that they had for each other, it rips your heart out to know that these siblings can’t communicate.
They cannot be there for each other’s birthdays. They can’t go in and hang out. It really, really is painful because they were so close and they loved each other so much. And they will never get this time back. Right now, they’ve been isolated during a funeral. They’ve been isolated during the grieving process. And to this day, they’re still separated.
Court TV: What was that relationship like in the beginning? How did they meet him and Shanna?
Adam Bridegan: So they actually met through my wife. My wife and I were very close with Shanna in their younger years. They had a very good relationship. And they were connected through my wife and myself. So throughout the years, you know, there were definitely changes and things that happened, and behaviors and things like that. And so, we haven’t spoken in a very long time.
But what I can say is that Jared was broken. He really wanted to stay together for the kids. I think that was his top priority — was raising the children. And the divorce really took an emotional toll on him, and we were so happy as a family to see Kirsten come into Jared’s life because she brought so much joy and love and understanding to Jared.
And it was a complete 180 from seeing just how depressed and sad Jared was following that divorce and just the light that came back on to him. I think that is something that was beautiful to see as a family… to see Jared find love and to find that relationship and completely change him. And so, yes, as we were present, we did see that light and that change in him. And, you know, he was very fortunate to bring additional children into this world.
Court TV: Are you surprised that she’s fighting extradition?
Adam Bridegan: Honestly, at this point, I don’t know what to expect. The only thing I can say at this at this time is, I think we, as a family… we just expect the unexpected, right? Like, we don’t know all the nuances of the legal system and all the things that will take place. I think we feel peace that justice is being served, even though it’s slow. And we have a lot of confidence in the team and all the steps that they’ve taken following the law. So, we just we feel a lot of peace and we know it will be a long journey. But yeah, at this time, I think we kind of expect the unexpected, honestly.
We look forward to the trial and it will be very painful to relive and to be exposed to see that there are things that we don’t even know. But, I think for Jared’s story, it will be important for the public to understand the details, to understand what really took place. And I think that will be very liberating for him.
And I think it will help cement his legacy- of knowing the truth and making sure that the truth gets out there, because that’s ultimately what his children deserve, right? As they get older and they want to know, why is my father not here? And I think that will be really important for them — that that truth does come out and they can rely on that. And learn about it in the future.