Jonathan Frederick Sander admitted to Wake County sheriff's investigators that he had killed three neighbors on March 25 before deputies arrested him next door in his house on a street near Wake Forest, an investigator said in seeking search warrants in the case.
Sander is charged with three counts of murder in the shooting deaths of Sandy Mazzella, 47; his wife, Stephanie Mazzella, 43; and Sandy Mazzella’s mother, Elaine Mazzella, 76, at 5907 Clearsprings Drive.
Investigator W.P. Gray told a magistrate that the three were clearly dead when deputies arrived shortly after 6 p.m.
“A primary suspect was identified as having held up inside the residence at 5917 Clearsprings Drive, where he possessed evidence” related to the killings, Gray told the magistrate in asking for a search warrant for Sanders’ home.
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“Jonathan Frederick Sander confessed to committing the murders,” Gray wrote in asking for permission to take hair, blood and saliva samples from Sanders. “This information corroborates witness statements that were taken at the murder scene.”
One reason for the samples, Gray said, was to determine if Sander had intoxicants in his blood at the time.
Gray also said Sanders had an “open wound over his eye that is likely to have left blood evidence at the crime scene.”
When Gray returned the search warrants to the court clerk’s office Tuesday, an inventory from the Mazzellas’ house said investigators had found 10 shotgun shells, seven pieces of wadding from shotgun shells that had been fired, a .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol loaded with eight rounds and a box of .32-caliber ammunition.
The warrant for Sander’s home listed a Mossberg shotgun, 19 shotgun shells and a loaded .40-caliber handgun.
Both warrants listed numerous other items that included four cellphones and two tablet computers from Sander’s house and five phones and three computers from the house next door.
Investigators also took a damaged door knob from the house where the Mazzellas died.
Neighbors said there had been an ongoing dispute between Sander and the Mazzellas. Deputies had been called on the morning of March 25 to end what neighbors said was a shouting match.
Sanders was charged Feb. 26 with communicating threats. Neither that case nor the murder charges are currently scheduled for court action, according to online court calendars.