Criminal Justice

Son-in-law charged with murder in deaths of retired lawyer and spouse killed by mailbox package bomb

The son-in-law of a retired lawyer has been charged with murder in the slayings earlier this week of the elderly attorney and his wife after a package left in a mailbox outside their home exploded.

Authorities didn’t explain what led them to charge Richard Parker, 49, as the sole suspect in the deaths of Jon and Marion Setzer at their home in semi-rural Tennessee in the Lebanon area, reports CNN. Parker was convicted of arson in 1993, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. He lived in a house adjacent to the Setzers’ home.

Jon Setzer picked up the package from the mailbox, about 200 yards from his home, on Monday and carried it to the house. Just after he entered it exploded, killing Setzer and fatally injuring his wife. She died at the hospital on Wednesday. Authorities now say they do not believe the package was delivered by the post office.

Parker declined to discuss the deaths of his in-laws when contacted Wednesday by telephone, the Associated Press reports.

The Lebanon Democrat says Parker was arrested Thursday after being indicted by a special grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, premeditated first-degree murder and unlawful carry of a prohibited weapon. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bond.

“Although we do have a suspect in custody, this remains an ongoing investigation, and the reward is still out there,” said Jeff Fulton, a special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, apparently referring to an $8,000 reward offered earlier. “If additional information comes in that will help us close any loose ends, we still want the public’s assistance.”

Those who knew the Setzers spoke highly of them and were stunned by the news of the package bomb, reports another Associated Press article.

John Stark, a Nashville lawyer, knew the couple for 30 years and attended church with them.

“We are just dazed by what happened,” Stark said. “Jon was one of the good guys. He was a good lawyer. He taught Sunday school.”

See also: “Retired lawyer, his wife are killed by package bomb sent to his home”

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