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Carolina Neighbor Sentenced To Life For Shotgun Murders Of New Milford Native, Wife, Mother

Sandy Mazzella of New Milford and his wife Stephanie (along with his mother Elaine) were gunned down by Jonathan Sander, their neighbor and former business partner.
Sandy Mazzella of New Milford and his wife Stephanie (along with his mother Elaine) were gunned down by Jonathan Sander, their neighbor and former business partner. Photo Credit: LEFT: Sandy Mazzella Facebook/RIGHT: LawAndCrime.com/live-trials

A North Carolina man was sentenced to life without parole for the triple shotgun murders of a Bergen County native, his wife and his mother after the family tried filing a restraining order against him.

Jurors convicted Jonathan Sander, 56, last week of murdering Sandy, Stephanie and Elaine Mazzella following a three-week trial. Then came the sentencing portion of the hearing on Monday, during which the jury chose that he die naturally in prison rather than be executed.

Showing no remorse, Sander accused the Mazzellas of lying, prompting the survivors to walk out of the courtroom, according to various reports.

Following the rant, Sentencing Judge Graham Shirley's own emotions grew.

“You, sir, are going to be housed with the most violent criminals in the state -- people who are meaner and more violent than you,” Shirley told Sander. "When you take your last breath, you're going to die alone and you’re going to die forgotten.

"Get him out of my courtroom!” the judge told sheriff's officers.

Sandy Mazzella, 47 -- who graduated from New Milford High School in 1987 -- moved to Wake County, NC with his wife Stephenie, 43, and 76-year-old mother, Elaine, in 2008.

At first, Sander and the Mazzellas owned a landscaping company together.

Things apparently spiraled downward when the Mazzellas accused Sander of theft and child molestation.

Mazzella had been feuding with Sander for months and attempted to file a restraining order against him in March 2016 after he said Sander came to his property with a loaded gun and screamed in his face.

The judge declined the restraining order, however.

The following day, Sandy, Stephanie and Elaine were shot dead at their home.

A GoFundMe had raised nearly $37,000 for the Mazzellas' two surviving children as of Tuesday.

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