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Tense scene unfolds as Wake Forest triple shooting suspect appears in court

Posted March 28
Updated March 29

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— Tensions were high Monday morning as the man accused of shooting and killing three neighbors last week made his first court appearance.

"You rot in hell you piece of garbage," Richard Sussman, a family member of the victims,yelled as Jon Frederick Sander left the courtroom.

Sander, 52, of 5917 Clearsprings Dr., Wake Forest, was arrested and charged with murder after authorities said he walked into his neighbors’ house and shot and killed three people.

The victims were identified as Sandy Mazzella, 47, Stephanie Mazzella, 43, and Elaine Toby Mazzella, 76.

"It's beyond shock, it's gruesome, it's unimaginable, any word you want to put on it," Sussman said. "My father was shot at also, but somehow he managed to escape."

According to court records, Sandy Mazella and his wife Stephanie took out a no-contact order against Sander in February.

That same month, Sander was charged with communicating threats against the family. The 52-year-old threatened to "put them in a box," according to arrest warrants. Sander was due in court April 1 for the charges last month.

The order was lifted Thursday, the day before authorities say Sander walked into the Mazzella home and started shooting.

Sandy Mazzella was the president of Advanced Mowing and Landscaping Inc., and he was business partners with Sander. The shooting may have stemmed from an earlier dispute between the neighbors, officials said. Deputies responded to the homes of the two parties around 9 a.m. on Friday.

According to court documents, Sandy Mazzella was charged with misdemeanor stalking on March 3, with an offense date of Feb. 27; the complaint was filed by Lori Botti, president of Advanced Patio and Landscape Inc. Stephanie Mazzella was the vice president of the company.

Botti and Sander were also co-plaintiffs in a case suing Sandy Mazzella for "money owed," totaling less than $10,000 on March 2, according to court documents.

"Obviously there are two sides to every story and we are in the process of gathering all of the facts," said Alan Briones, Sander's attorney.

In 911 calls released Sunday, a caller can be heard telling a dispatcher a man ran to her car to ask her to call police because a man just shot his wife and daughter-in-law. The caller said the man flagged her down on the road and asked her to call for help because his phone was not working.

In another call that came from inside the home at 5907 Clearsprings Drive where the shooting happened, a young caller tells the dispatcher that her neighbor had gone crazy and shot her parents while she was locked in her room. The dispatcher keeps the child on the phone until deputies arrived.

"My neighbor went crazy. Come here right now or we're going to die," the child told the dispatcher. "You need to bring backup because he is dangerous."

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  • Geneva Smith Mar 29, 2016
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    This should be a death penalty case.