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String of fires in bombing suspect’s past

By Jared Felkins jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Richard Parker, charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the bombing deaths of his in-laws, had four fire-related incidents happen close to him in the span of about four years, according to Wilson County Emergency Management Agency reports. 

Law enforcement agencies investigating the deaths of Jon and Marion Setzer, who were killed in an explosion Parker is believed to be responsible, requested the reports during a three-day investigation prior to Parker’s indictment and arrest last week. 

“They did come up with addresses and dates of incidents to be pulled,” WEMA Director Joey Cooper said. “This is the result of that request. 

“That’s all we can provide anyone are the facts. Of course, law enforcement has to continue the investigation.”

The first report involved a fire at Parker’s home, apparently when he lived at 213 Summer Place in Mt. Juliet, on Aug. 28, 2005. According to the report, firefighters responded after a neighbor called about the fire, which firefighters found in the attic and extinguished. The report said no one was at home at the time, but an estimated $15,000 worth of damage was done to the home and its contents. 

The second incident happened Aug. 15, 2007 at Parker’s home at 576 Vance Lane, property where he was also arrested a week ago. That report showed the home at the time was destroyed by fire and took several firefighter units to extinguish. 

The Setzers, Parker’s in-laws, lived next door at 580 Vance Lane, which was also the site of the bomb explosion Feb. 10 that instantly killed Jon Setzer. Marion Setzer died two days later at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

A third incident happened Oct. 4, 2007 on property adjacent to the other side of Parker’s property from where the Setzers lived on nearly 50 acres owned by David Hughen. Judy Hughen currently owns the land, which is also the site of Camp Smiley, according to Wilson County property records. 

According to the report, a grass fire Cooper said originated on the Parker property spread to a barn on the Hughen property. The report said the fire destroyed the barn and took firefighters about two hours to extinguish using about 18,000 gallons of water. Firefighters were able to save a building close to the barn.  

The report estimated about $280,000 in property and contents were lost in the fire. 

The fourth report contained information on a fire alarm call Sept. 22, 2009 at Parker’s Vance Lane home. According to the report, firefighters arrived to find an alarm going off in an upstairs bedroom, but found no fire. 

According to authorities, Parker had an arson conviction in Giles County from 1993. He served four years of probation following his conviction.

Parker was arraigned Tuesday in Wilson County circuit court, where he pleaded not guilty to two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, two counts of felony first-degree murder and one count of unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon in the bombing deaths of Jon and Marion Setzer. The Setzers’ funeral is set for Saturday at noon at First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville. 

Parker remained Wednesday in Wilson County Jail on $1 million bond. 

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