Bond denied for woman accused in murder for hire plot in Jacksonville Beach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Bond was denied for the woman accused of conspiring to kill her ex-husband.


Shanna Gardner is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and child abuse. She’s believed to have conspired with her estranged husband, Mario Fernandez-Saldana, to kill her ex-husband, Jared Bridegan. Both Gardner and Fernandez-Saldana are facing the death penalty.

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Her defense team argued for bond, last week, in court. Judge London Kite denied that request, on Friday.

“I’ve carefully considered the evidence that was presented,” Judge Kite said. “And denied the defendant’s motion to set bond.”

Judge Kite took a week to go over the six hours of testimony given by both the defense and State Attorney’s Office. She cited that the defendant is a flight risk, according to court documents. Kite pointed to the fact that Gardner’s children live in Washington state. She doesn’t own a home here, and doesn’t have a job here.

A case management hearing also took place, on Friday, for both Gardner and Fernandez-Saldana.

The State Attorney’s Office said it has more than 100 witnesses for the trial. It’s unclear if they will call each one.

RELATED: Judge still considering if Shanna Gardner, accused in Jared Bridegan murder, can post bond

Gardner’s 11-year-old twins, whom she shared with Bridegan, will also be testifying during the trial. Fernandez-Saldana’s defense attorney, Jesse Dreicer, said their deposition is key.

“I want to dispose the children sooner rather than later, because they’re an important part of our defense,” Dreicer said.

However, the State Attorney’s Office argued the children should have a legal advisor, independent of their mother [Gardner].

Gardner’s attorneys have objected to that. It could continue to play out in a Washington state court, where the children currently live.

Another topic that has continued to be a back and forth issue between both defense teams and the State Attorney’s office is whether or not the State had access to texts and emails that fall under attorney-client privilege.

RELATED: Never-before-seen interview with Shanna Gardner a year before her arrest for Jared Bridegan’s murder

Judge Kite said she wants all materials re-analyzed and an outside agency can determine was is privileged and what is ok for the state to see and use.

“The state can have another agency outside of and truly unconnected to these proceedings,” Judge Kite said. “The state also needs to provide an unconnected lawyer not connected to the federal government.”

Fernandez-Saldana and Gardner will have a pre-trial hearing on May 31 at 9 A.M.

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