Posted Feb 18, 2014 04:35 pm CST
A retired Tennessee lawyer who died last week after picking up a package bomb from his home mailbox and taking it into his house had defended the suspect in the case in an earlier arson prosecution.
Jon Setzer did not believe his son-in-law, Richard Parker, now 49, had committed that crime, which concerned a July 1990 fire in an 1830s cabin Parker had been renovating, the Associated Press reports. Parker has since founded a business that renovates historic homes, Legacy Restorations.
Setzer “felt that the suggestion that Richard had been guilty of arson was not justified,” said Setzer’s longtime law partner, George Cate Jr. “He was supporting his son-in-law at that time.”
The owners of the cabin, Danny and Rosemary Martin, now say they wish they had pushed for a prison term for Parker, the AP reports. They accepted $40,000 in restitution and Parker got four years of probation.
Parker, who is being held in lieu of $1 million bail in a Wilson County first-degree murder case, had his first court appearance Tuesday, where he pleaded not guilty, according to the Tennessean and WZTV. An earlier Tennessean article provides additional details.
Parker is not represented by counsel and declined to speak with the AP last week, prior to his arrest, about the deaths of Setzer, 74, and his wife, Marion, 72. She died a few days after her husband of injuries from the blast.
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