Man charged in murder of Jared Bridegan pleads not guilty

Henry Tenon appears in Duval County court for arraignment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The man arrested in connection with the death of Jared Bridegan appeared in Duval County court Monday morning for his arraignment.

Henry Tenon is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder with a weapon, accessory after the fact to a capital felony, and felony child abuse in connection with the killing. Tenon, 61, entered a plea of not guilty.

Bridegan’s family spoke after court. Overwhelmed with emotion, Bridegan’s widow, Kirsten, told News4JAX that Monday is the day they have prayed for. The family said it is the first step in the fight for justice for Jared Bridegan.

“This is just the very beginning,” Kirsten Bridegan said.

Monday was the first time Jared Bridegan’s family saw Tenon in person.

“I think it’s still sinking in, you know, they kind of opened the door, and I saw his profile before he walked out, and I think that that might have been one of the last people my husband saw,” Kirsten Bridegan said. “It’s kind of a hard pill to swallow.”

Kirsten Bridegan sent a message to him and his family.

“To Henry’s family, we pray for you. We can only imagine the hurt and the pain you must also be feeling, and we hope that you will be able to find closure and healing,” she said. “Henry, if you get to hear this, please choose now to do the right thing. Please help us receive justice sooner than later and allow us and your own family to move forward and focus on healing as quickly as possible. Please help us in this nightmare that we are living every single day.”

She went on to thank the investigators and people working on this case. She also thanked her family and community for their endless support. The family knows that they have a long road ahead and that this won’t be an easy process for them.

“I feel so horrible, and I want to do something, but what can you do? So we come to support her here. That’s all we can do,” said neighbor Eleanor Burkett.

VIDEO: Jared Bridegan’s widow has message for suspect’s family

A status conference is set for March 21, and a preliminary trial date was set for July 19, but trials in high-profile cases almost never happen that quickly as these cases normally take both sides longer to prepare for.

Monday’s arraignment had initially been scheduled for Thursday — which marks a year since Feb. 16, 2022, when Jared Bridegan, 33, was shot and killed on a dark stretch of road near the Sanctuary neighborhood in Jacksonville Beach with his toddler daughter in the back seat of his sport utility vehicle.

Bridegan had just left the home of his ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, the night of what police described as a targeted ambush shooting. He dropped off the twins he shared with her, and then the attack occurred just miles away as he headed to his home in St. Johns County.

According to detectives, the Microsoft manager was shot at close range several times after he stopped to move a tire out of the road. That tire, investigators believe, was part of the setup.

Tenon has been in jail since August on unrelated charges and was just arrested in Bridegan’s murder last month.

According to court records, the conspiracy that led to the murder of Bridegan began Jan. 4, 2022. That’s just over a month before Bridegan was killed.

Tenon’s arrest warrant and affidavit are sealed until March.

Kirsten Bridegan said she expects more arrests.

“Henry Tennon is only one piece,” she said. “He’s only one chess piece. There are more to fall before justice is done.”

State Attorney Melissa Nelson also said at a news conference in January: “We know Henry Tenon did not act alone.”

The News4JAX I-TEAM has uncovered records confirming that Tenon rented a house owned by Mario Fernandez, who is married to Bridegan’s ex-wife. The home is in Northwest Jacksonville, about 25 miles from the scene of the Jacksonville Beach shooting.

There has been a lot of public interest in Gardner-Fernandez and her second husband. She has proclaimed her innocence in interviews with other outlets.

According to sources, Gardner-Fernandez moved with her children across the country to Benton County, Washington, where her family has a home, and Fernandez remains in Florida.

Neither Gardner-Fernandez nor Fernandez have been charged with anything related to the case.

Tenon’s tenant previously told News4JAX that Tenon drove a blue-colored or two-toned Ford F-150 — similar to the descriptions of the pickup truck investigators believe was involved in the murder.

UNCUT: Henry Tenon appears in court Monday

There is a $55,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and prosecution in the killing. First Coast Crime Stoppers is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Much of that money was raised privately by the Bridegan family. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, is offering an additional $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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