by Clellie Allen
RALEIGH — Jonathan Sander, the suspect in the triple homicide that took place in Wake Forest on Good Friday, had his first Wake County court appearance this afternoon in which he was told by Chief District Court Judge Robert Rader that no bond would be set in his case. Sander, age 52, waived his right to a court-appointed attorney, securing the services of Raleigh criminal defense lawyer Alan Briones.
Sander is accused of three counts of murder in the deaths of Elaine Toby Mazzella, age 76, and her son and daughter-in-law, Sandy Mazzella, age 47, and Stephenie Ann Mazzella, age 43. The victims were killed March 25 in Sandy and Stephenie’s home at 5907 Clearsprings Drive. Elaine Mazzella, from Raleigh, was visiting at the time.
Sander lives close by at 5917 Clearsprings Drive.
As Sander was led out of the court room, Mazzella family member Richard Sussman called out to him, “Jon Sander — you rot in hell, you piece of garbage.”
Just prior to the court hearing, Sussman told reporters in an understated, halting voice that Salvatore Mazzella, husband to Elaine and father to Sandy and Stephenie Ann Mazzella, was struggling to cope with the tragedy. “It’s difficult for him. In a second to lose your son, daughter-in-law, wife. They had a very unique relationship. Always together, did everything together. We’re trying to make things as best as possible.”
Afterward, Briones told reporters very little. “I’m pretty much going to go the no-comment route. Obviously, it’s very early, just happened three or four days ago. I met with (Sander) extensively Saturday at the jail. There’s gonna be a lot of information that will come out as this progresses, (but) not necessarily from us.”
Sander's next court appearance will be April 18, 9 a.m.
As previously reported, the Wake County Sheriff’s Department received a call around 5:55 p.m. March 25 of shots fired at 5907 Clearsprings Drive, Wake Forest. When they arrived they found three deceased persons. The suspect, Jonathan Frederick Sander, was located in his home at 5917 Clearsprings Drive. He was taken into custody after a short stand-off.
Sheriff Donnie Harrison stated that they had been to that location earlier in the day, with regard to what appeared to be an on-going dispute.
The Mazzella's have two children, the oldest of which was reportedly at home at the time of the shooting, but was physically unharmed. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help fund their immediate expenses. See www.gofundme.com/sqw6uup8 for more information.