Authorities charged Richard Parker with killing his in-laws, Jon and Marion Setzer, with an explosive device that detonated Monday afternoon at the Setzers’ home on Vance Lane just outside of Lebanon.
Parker, 49, of Lebanon, was taken into custody Thursday at about 4 p.m. at his home, authorities said in a press conference. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said a Wilson County special grand jury indicted Parker on two counts of felony first-degree murder, two counts of premeditated first-degree murder and one count of unlawful carry of a prohibited weapon.
“As everyone knows on Monday a tragic incident happened on Vance Lane here in Wilson County,” said Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan. “I want to take this opportunity to thank several agencies, including employees of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, the TBI, the ATF, the state fire marshal’s office, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, Lebanon Public Safety and 15th district attorney’s office. The collaborative efforts of all of these agencies and the hundreds of individuals working tirelessly throughout the last few nights have resulted in the arrest of the person responsible for this crime.
“I also want to thank the citizens of the area and the citizens of Wilson County for being patient as we diligently worked this case to a successful conclusion,” Bryan said.
Jeff Fulton, special agent in charge with the ATF, added though an arrest was made, the case was still open.
“Although we do have a suspect in custody, this remains an ongoing investigation, and the reward is still out there,” Fulton said. “If additional information comes in that will help us close any loose ends, we still want the public’s assistance.”
Fulton also said evidence was still being examined at TBI and ATF labs.
“We also want to remind the public that this device was placed, not shipped in any way through any kind of carrier,” Fulton said. “People should know that the device didn’t arrive by mail or any sort of shipping services.”
Authorities also said they didn’t want to discuss the makeup of the explosive, only that it was “clearly a functioning destructive device” and things like components and powders from the explosive were still at TBI and ATF laboratories.
Dewey Woody, director of the bomb and arson section of the state fire marshal’s office, said he appreciated the community’s efforts in assisting the agencies involved throughout the week.
“A lot of time was spent to discuss things that occurred, and the patience of the public is very appreciated,” Woody said. “This is still an ongoing investigation, and all agencies have worked together to see that justice was done in this case, and we thank you for the cooperation.”
Gwyn said authorities were not able to go into any of the particulars of the investigation at this time.
“During the investigation we received several different leads. We ran those leads, looked at evidence provided from the crime scene, and took all of that into consideration, which obviously helped lead to this arrest,” Gwyn said.
Gwyn said Parker is currently in the Wilson County Jail under $1 million bond.
Parker and his wife, Laura, live next door to the Setzers. Their home was situated behind the Setzer home on 20 acres. Laura Parker was not named as a suspect Thursday.
“It is ongoing, but right now we do feel like we have the single person responsible for committing this crime,” Gwyn said.
Authorities said they were not able to discuss a motive, and circumstances surrounding the incident are still being determined.
According to authorities, Richard Parker has one arson conviction in Giles County from 1993. He had four years of probation following his conviction.
Richard Parker owns Legacy Restorations. The business is listed at 576 Vance Lane, the same address as the Parker home.
Retired attorney Jon Setzer, 74, was found dead at the scene of an explosion Monday at about 5 p.m. at the couple’s home at 580 Vance Lane. Marion Setzer, his wife, was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Illana Tate, Marion Setzer died Wednesday in the early evening hours at the hospital. She was 72.
“I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t send out our condolences to the Setzer family,” Gwyn said. “Whereas anytime a case like this comes to a conclusion we hope we can give the family some closure and in this particular case maybe not the closure they were expecting or wanting but in effect at least now they know what truly happened.”
Authorities asked anyone with information about the incident call 800-TBI-FIND or 800-824-3463. An $8,000 reward remains active for information that leads to the arrest and conviction in the case.