Lebanon man pleads guilty to explosion that killed in-laws
Richard Parker, 49, pleaded guilty Tuesday to murdering his wife's parents, Jon and Marion Setzer.
Jon and Marion Setzer died after a package exploded inside their Vance Lane home on February 10, 2014.
LEBANON, Tenn. -
The man accused of killing his in-laws by delivering an explosive device to their Lebanon home in February admitted his guilt during a court appearance Tuesday morning.
Richard Parker, 49, pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder and will spend the rest of his life behind bars after a judge sentenced him to two life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Parker’s father-in-law, Jon Setzer, 74, was killed instantly when a lamp delivered to his Vance Lane home on February 10 exploded.
His wife, Marion, 72, suffered serious burns and died two days later at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Despite her injuries, Marion was able to tell investigators the lamp exploded when they plugged it in.
During an initial search of the Setzer’s home, agents seized the cardboard box the lamp was shipped in along with packing supplies and the lamp shade.
A FedEx label on the box proved to be purchased at a local OfficeMax, and FedEx confirmed they had not recently shipped a package to the Vance Lane home.
Authorities then used the SKU number on the box and found it was purchased at a local Walmart in Gallatin. Upon surveying the security footage, Parker was seen purchasing the items used in sending the explosive to the Setzer’s home, including a lamp shade, box, packing paper, tape and light socket.
When interviewed and approached with the evidence, District Attorney Jimmy Lea said Parker admitted to purchasing the items on February 7 and building the explosive device over that following weekend in a dilapidated barn on their property.
Lea said in court Tuesday that agents also found information in the Setzer’s home office that showed Parker owed Jon a substantial amount of money that was due November 2013, which Lea said “Parker was very distraught over.”
He also stated Parker told authorities that he had recently forged one of Jon’s checks for $12,000 because he needed the money.
Authorities then identified money as a possible motive for the crime.
District Attorney Lea also relayed the timeline of events after the explosion occurred February 10.
He stated it was Parker and his son David who responded to the Setzers’ home within minutes after the explosion.
David Parker found his grandfather on fire after entering the home. He attempted to put out the flames with a hose and take off his grandfather’s clothes. He suffered burns to his arms and hands in the process.
Lea said Marion was screaming when they entered the home. Richard Parker ran to her and actually carried her out of the burning home.
Laura Parker, Richard’s wife and the Setzers’ daughter, placed the call to 911, as did her youngest son and several neighbors who also heard the explosion.
“We need you! We need ambulances! We need you now; people are hurt!” the youngest son can be heard telling 911 dispatch.
“We heard a boom. I don’t know if my parents are in the house. My husband and son have run up to see if my parents are there,” Laura told a dispatcher in a separate call. “There’s smoke and we heard a boom that rattled our house.”
The 911 call continues until sheriff’s deputies and EMTs arrive at the home.
At the time of the hearing, Richard Parker was being held at the Wilson County jail, though it’s unclear where he will serve his consecutive life sentences.