Shanna Gardner-Fernandez faces the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree murder, solicitation to commit a capital felony, child abuse, and conspiracy to commit murder. She is the third person charged in relation to the ambush killing of her ex-husband Jared Bridegan. “Shanna Gardner’s indictment acknowledges her central and key role in the cold, calculated, and premeditated murder of Jared Bridegan,” said State Attorney Mellisa Nelson.
Shanna Gardner-Fernandez’s parents, Shelli and Sterling Gardner, are executives of a Utah-based company named Stampin’ Up
Shanna Gardner-Fernandez was raised in Utah by Shelli and Sterling Gardner. Shelli and her sister co-founded Stampin’ Up!, a Utah-based arts and crafts company.
Sterling and Shelli are respected members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2015, the pair stepped down from their executive posts to serve a full-time mission for the church in Hawaii. Deseret News talked to the couple a day after they announced their decision to step down. “This was always the plan,” Shelli stated.
“We want people to be a part of this. We want them to know why we’re doing it and that we’re excited to serve the Lord. Maybe we can plant some seeds and they’ll become curious, ask questions,” Sterling added.
Shelli stated that the decision to join the Hawaii Mission wasn’t impulsive. “We were told to feel some urgency and go as soon as we were able. So, I wrote early 2015 on the calendar,” Shelli said. “I’ll be honest. I didn’t think it would come so quickly.” The couple stated that their toughest challenge was leaving their family. “We will miss our family, of course,” Shelli said.
The Daily Mail reports that friends of Shanna and Jared said she wooed him using family money. After Jared’s slaying, Shelli and Sterling purchased Shanna a home in Washington, where she moved in with her twins, Liam and Abby. Kristen Bridegan, Jared’s widow, said Shanna and her parents denied everyone else access to the children.
Bridegan said, “For the past year and a half, Liam and Abby have been isolated and kept away from us while they lived with their mother, their stepdad and their maternal grandparents. Despite my constant requests to see or speak to them I have been denied and continuously ignored.”
Shelli and Sterling released a statement after Shanna’s indictment affirming their support for Shanna. The statement, issued through their attorney, reads: “Words cannot accurately express the depth of our sadness. Family is our top priority. We love our daughter and are focused on supporting her and our entire family as we help our grandchildren navigate this difficult and very confusing time.”