- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (AP) - A man accused of killing three members of a Wake County family faced a restraining order to stay away from them, but the order was lifted a day before they were killed, a relative of the victims said.

Wake County sheriff’s investigators have not disclosed a motive for the Friday shootings, but one of the victims’ relatives, Richard Sussman, told The News & Observer (https://bit.ly/22WO01U ) that the slayings stemmed from a work dispute.

Authorities said 52-year-old Jonathan Sander shot and killed Sussman’s 76-year-old mother Elaine Mazzella, 47-year-old brother Sandy Mazzella and 43-year-old sister-in-law Stephanie Mazzella. Sander was the family’s neighbor.

Hours before the shooting, Wake County deputies went to their houses to settle a dispute. Officials said Sander killed the family members later that day.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Sander was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

Records show that Sander had been charged with communicating threats last month. Sussman told the newspaper that Sandy and Stephanie Mazzella were granted a temporary restraining order against Sander on the grounds that he threatened to kill them.

Sussman said they wanted a permanent restraining order, but the temporary order was lifted by a judge on Thursday, one day before the shootings.

“The judge said it was just words,” Sussman said about the threat. “The next day he killed everyone.”

It’s was not immediately clear whether Sander has an attorney.

Neighbors said Sander and Sandy Mazzella worked for a landscaping business. The company’s website lists Sandy Mazzella as the president.


Information from: The News & Observer, https://www.newsobserver.com

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