The parents of Jared Bridegan’s ex-wife have petitioned a court for custody of their grandkids, but the petition appears to contain blatantly incorrect material.
With Bridegan no longer alive and his ex-wife, Shanna Gardner-Fernandez, in jail on murder charges, her affluent parents, Shelli and Sterling Gardner, want to keep the couple’s 11-year-old twins.
However, it appears that they have misrepresented where the children have resided in the last five years and whether any other relatives have sought visits.
“Coming to the court and patently lying by filling out a form with false information warrants a complete dismissal of their application,” matrimonial lawyer Marilyn Chinitz, who represented Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and Michael Douglas in their divorces, told Fox News Digital.
Gardner-Fernandez, 35, was arrested on August 16 in West Richland, Washington, for allegedly planning and carrying out the murder of the Microsoft executive and father of four more than 19 months ago.
In Jacksonville Beach, Florida, the 33-year-old was shot and killed in front of his toddler daughter, Bexley.
The petition, filed in Washington state’s Benton County Superior Court, asks a simple question about residency.
“During the past 5 years have any of the children lived…outside Washington state?” The Gardners allegedly ticked “No” and did not complete the next series of questions, which asked for a detailed description of where the children had lived and with whom.
Gardner-Fernandez and the children only left Florida in December 2022 to avoid the spotlight on the highly publicised murder.
The Gardners, who live in Utah, bought her the million-dollar property that became her shelter prior to her imprisonment.
Chinitz believes the Gardners may have given the incorrect response to avoid having the case heard in Florida, where the paternal grandparents live, but this strategy could backfire.
“The court will look at that petition with a really jaundiced eye,” the high-powered attorney said.
She went on to say that it’s doubtful they misread the question because they both signed the legal paperwork under penalty of perjury, as did their lawyer.
The Gardners offered another puzzling answer to the question: “Do you know of anyone besides you and the parents who have, or claim to have, a legal right to spend time with any of these children?”
They again checked “No.” However, Jared’s wife, Kirsten Bridegan, with whom he shares two children, Bexley and London, has openly requested visitation from Gardner-Fernandez and her parents.
Prior to Jared’s death, the exes shared custody, and the twins spent half of the year with their half-siblings.
Kirsten appealed for the children’s reunion after Gardner-Fernandez’s arrest.
“We are their family. We love them,” she told reporters. “Despite my constant requests to see or speak to them, I have been denied and continuously ignored.”
Gaylord and Joanna Bridegan, Jared’s parents, have also requested time with their grandchildren.
“This is a highly publicized case where the widow and paternal grandparents are out there saying they want to see the kids. I can’t even justify why they would make that false statement,” Chinitz said.
The Gardners overlooked the twins’ sizeable trust accounts when asked to detail the children’s assets in another question.
According to court documents obtained by Fox News Digital earlier, Shelli Gardner runs the lucrative papercraft company Stampin’ Up! and has financially supported Gardner-Fernandez for the majority of her adult life.
The Gardners, who own houses all around the country, sold their oceanfront Jacksonville Beach holiday home for $3,650,000 last month, severing their links to the state even more.
Gardner-Fernandez, who is anticipated to be extradited to Jacksonville, also signed the petition, granting her parents parenting rights.
The Gardners requested “limited or no visitation” with their mother in a declaration that was not signed by Gardner-Fernandez because she is “charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder and child abuse.”
Gardner-Fernandez is charged with murder together with her estranged second husband, Mario Fernandez, and the gunman, Henry Tenon, who has pled guilty and is collaborating with authorities.
The trio is suspected of plotting to murder Jared on February 16, 2022, after he dropped off the twins at Gardner-Fernandez’s house.
He was enticed from his car by a tyre placed in the road and killed in front of his 2-year-old daughter, Bexley, who just escaped with her life.
Bridegan and his ex-wife were fighting over custody of their children at the time.
Gardner-Fernandez and Fernandez might face the death penalty if convicted. Rachel Woodard, the Gardners’ lawyer, and Shelli Gardner did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
Henry Coxe III, Gardner-Fernandez’s criminal defence attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.