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In a twist within the Jared Bridegan homicide thriller, police reviews reveal his ex-wife’s new husband was investigated in reference to an animal cruelty grievance after a beloved neighborhood cat mysteriously turned up lifeless.
Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, 35, and Mario Fernandez, 34, purchased a house in an upscale suburb of Jacksonville Seashore, Florida, shortly earlier than they tied the knot in April 2018 in a modest courthouse ceremony.
However their relationship with a few of their neighbors took a darkish flip weeks after transferring in when Apollo, a black and white cat who had turn into an adored member of the neighborhood, was fatally shot with a BB gun.
Shortly after the killing, the proprietor knowledgeable Fernandez of Apollo’s passing. Fernandez allegedly responded by callously telling the heartbroken neighbor “how a lot he disliked cats,” in line with a police data.
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The cat loss of life revelation comes on the six-month anniversary of 33-year-old Bridegan’s unsolved homicide.
The Microsoft govt was gunned down Feb. 16 in entrance of his 2-year-old daughter, Bexley, on a wooded stretch of street after dropping off his 10-year-old twins with Gardner-Fernandez at her house about two miles away. He had stopped his Volkswagen Atlas to take away a tire in the midst of the street.
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The software program designer shares Bexley and London, 1, with Kirsten Bridegan, his second spouse.
The Jacksonville Seashore Police Division has not publicly named an individual of curiosity within the father of 4’s execution, however a law-enforcement supply advised Fox Information Digital that Gardner-Fernandez and her husband stay suspects. They haven’t been charged with any misconduct in reference to the slaying.
Bridegan and Gardner-Fernandez have been locked in near-constant litigation over their kids since their divorce. The venomous authorized wrangling solely ended with the tech supervisor’s loss of life.
Gardner-Fernandez, the heiress to the Stampin’ Up! paper-craft fortune, married her new husband, a part-time private coach, about three years after her acrimonious cut up from Bridegan.
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However the newlyweds’ contemporary begin on the quiet cul-de-sac was quickly overshadowed by the baffling cat killing. A neighbor had taken within the affectionate stray in 2013, commonly feeding him and letting him sleep on his again porch, in line with police reviews.
The loving feline quickly grew to become a fixture on the road, a supply advised Fox Information Digital.
However on Nov. 30, 2018, the neighbor seen blood on Apollo’s proper leg, in line with the report.
He scooped up his struggling companion and took him to the vet. An X-ray revealed that the feline had been shot with a BB gun.
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After the wound was handled, Apollo was nonetheless torpid and in ache. Just a few days later, the fearful proprietor returned to the vet for extra X-rays and found that Apollo was additionally struck within the stomach: the pellet had ripped via his inner organs. On the recommendation of the vet, Apollo was put to sleep.
The grieving proprietor, who had shelled out greater than $1,800 to attempt to save Apollo, referred to as police on Dec. 4, 2018, and reported the incident to Officer Allan Ford, in line with data.
Weeks earlier, Fernandez had been feuding with neighbors over the feeding of stray cats close to his house. A “very aggravated” Fernandez spoke to a cop from the Jacksonville Seashore Police Division on Dec. 3 after calling to report the cat nuisance, the report says.
“He stated he had cats in his yard and it was making his canine bark in the midst of the evening,” Officer Kelsey Eberle wrote, in line with the paperwork. “Fernandez additionally stated he had tried placing pepper spray on the fence in addition to capturing the cats with a BB gun.”
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The officer advised Fernandez that capturing a cat with a pellet gun was inhumane, and he could possibly be charged with animal cruelty.
That’s when Fernandez requested the officer if he knew that his neighbor’s cat had died a couple of days earlier from a pellet gun harm, including he “didn’t need hurt to return to an harmless animal.”
Fernandez stated the cat was ambushed across the similar time the varsity bus arrived to unload highschool college students, suggesting that one of many teenagers was accountable, the report says.
Different neighbors stated they knew Fernandez had a BB gun with a scope as a result of he had bragged about utilizing it to kill squirrels.
Officers Ford and Eberle tried to talk to Fernandez three extra occasions as a part of their investigation — however he refused and police closed the unsolved case, the report says.
It wasn’t Fernandez’s first run-in with neighbors over the muddle of cats that prowled close to his house.
The identical month that Apollo was shot, a 70-year-old girl was feeding the strays as she’d accomplished for years when Fernandez made her uncomfortable and he or she referred to as the police.
Fernandez had menacingly walked his pit bull close to her to “intimidate and scare off the cats she was feeding as a result of he didn’t like her doing that throughout the road from his home,” the report says.
The cop spoke to Fernandez who insisted there was “no malicious intent, and he was merely strolling his canine.”
The twins additionally raised considerations about Fernandez to Bridegan in September 2018 — years earlier than Bridegan’s homicide.
Their daughter had complained that Fernandez “was grabbing me like arduous and I don’t prefer it” Bridegan wrote in a involved e mail to Gardner-Fernandez.
“Thanks for the e-mail. I do know precisely what [our daughter] is speaking about, and it has been addressed,” his ex-wife responded, in line with the e-mail trade obtained by Fox Information Digital.
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A felony protection lawyer representing Gardener-Fernandez and Fernandez forwarded a request for remark to Linda Luchetti, a media specialist. “Right now, Shanna and Mario decline to take part,” she wrote.
Kirsten Bridegan beforehand advised Fox Information Digital that she wouldn’t surrender till her husband’s killers are delivered to justice.
“Not solely was this an assault on my husband and his life, it was an assault on the household we constructed collectively, and I received’t take it mendacity down,” she stated. “I’ll preserve combating till the top. Whether or not it takes six extra months or six extra years, I’ll proceed combating for him and the children.”