Warrant: Dispute over finances possible motive in Wake Forest triple murder

Jonathan Sander
Jonathan Sander

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) – Authorities investigating a Wake Forest triple murder are looking into a dispute over financial matters as a possible motive in the slayings that occurred March 25 in the 5900 block of Clearsprings Drive, according to warrants.

A search warrant was issued on March 30 for a large trailer found at 5907 Clearsprings Drive, the site where the three victims, Elaine Toby Mazzella, 76, Sandy Mazzella, 47, and Stephenie Ann Mazzella, 43, were found shot to death.

According to the warrant, the suspect, Jonathan Frederick Sander, 52, and one of the victims were business partners and had a history of numerous disagreements over financial matters. There were discussions over those financial issues prior to the murder, the warrant states.

Authorities believe the financial documents could aid in determining motive and additional leads. So far, according to the warrant, limited financial documents have been located inside the home and they believe there could be more inside the trailer.

Wake Forest police and the Wake County Sheriff’s Office responded to the home just before 6 p.m. on March 25 in reference to a shooting.

The victims were shot at the home and then Sander then came back to his home at 5917 Clearsprings Drive, which is adjacent to where the victims were killed, officials said.

Sander barricaded himself in his home when law enforcement arrived. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison personally attempted to call the man but did not connect with him.

Sander eventually came out of home and received medical attention for “anxiety and heart problems.”

Wake County deputies responded to the dispute around 9 a.m. that Friday. The deputies left when the dispute appeared to be resolved.

“We were here. It looks like it was an ongoing argument between the families,” Harrison said.

He later confirmed the shooting resulted from an ongoing dispute between neighbors.

Arrest records show Sander was charged with communicating threats on Feb. 25.

Court documents obtained by CBS North Carolina also show two restraining orders were filed against Sander in recent weeks.

Documents also show Sander and the Mazzellas were fighting over two vehicles, a 2009 Chevy Corvette and a 2009 Cadillac, and two furniture loans.

Sander is next scheduled to appear in court April 18.

Sander is facing three counts of felony murder.

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