The son-in-law of an elderly couple killed in a home explosion in Lebanon earlier this week has been charged with their murders.
Richard Parker was arrested Thursday afternoon at his residence following Monday evening’s explosion that immediately killed 74-year-old Jon Setzer. His wife, 72-year-old Marion, passed away from her injuries Wednesday evening at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Authorities said in a news conference that Parker, 49, hand delivered the package to the Setzer’s home located in the 500 block of Vance Lane.
“This device was placed not shipped, not sent through a carrier. It didn’t arrive by mail. It was placed at the residence,” Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent Jeff Fulton said. “We have components and powders at the lab. It was a functioning, destructive device killing two people.”
Multiple investigative sources told News 2 the device was a lamp that exploded when it was plugged in, blowing out the home’s windows.
Parker and his family live in a separate house on the same 20-acre property as the Setzers’ home.
“It was absolutely devastating. I said, ‘How in the world can something like this happen to two of the nicest people, the best people in the world?” friend Dr. John Lloyd told Nashville’s News 2.
Lloyd, a retired dentist knew the couple for many years and Marion used to work for him as a dental hygienist.
“They were a perfect match as far as two people. You would never find a couple more suited for one another than they were,” said Dr. Lloyd.
The Associated Press reported Jon Setzer, a retired bankruptcy attorney, had suffered from multiple health problems in recent years and was on dialysis at the time of his death.
He and Marion were longtime members of the First United Methodist Church.
“This horrific tragedy has left the members of the church and all who know them in disbelief and profound sorrow. Our prayers continue for their children and grandchildren,” Rev. Mike Ripski said in a statement.
A prayer service was held at Lebanon FUMC Wednesday night.
Children’s pastor Sabrina Jones said the youth of the church is very upset over Parker’s arrest.
“The kids love him, he is ‘Mr. Richard’ at the church,” Jones said. “The children are obviously heartbroken with what they are hearing because they love him. He is just a good man.”
She continued, “This is an amazing family. They have been very good friends of ours we have actually taken family vacations together and spent a lot of time together. They are very warm, very involved, very responsible and dedicated.”
Since his arrest, News 2 learned Parker was convicted of two counts of arson in 1993 and was near the crime scene Monday night, pacing as investigators sifted through debris.
He is now charged with two counts of felony first degree murder and two counts of premeditated murder, as well as one count of unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon.
He is being held in the Wilson County jail on $1 million bond.
A motive has yet to be determined. The investigation is ongoing.