Criminal Justice

Son-in-law takes plea in fatal bombing of retired lawyer and wife, will be in prison for life

Charged earlier this year with first-degree murder in the bombing deaths of a retired Tennessee trusts and estates lawyer and his wife, Richard Parker—the couple’s son-in-law—has agreed to a plea deal that will put him in prison for life.

During a Tuesday hearing in the Wilson County case, a prosecutor described the crime. Assistant district attorney Jimmy Lea said Parker built a bomb disguised as a lamp and left it in a box on the porch of Jon and Marion Setzer’s home, along with a note instructing them to plug it in, the Associated Press reports.

After the plug went into the socket, the bomb went off. Setzer, 74, died almost immediately, and his 72-year-old wife died after being hospitalized for days.

Lea said Parker committed the crime to get out of repaying a $40,000 debt to the couple, the AP reports. The Wilson Post says Parker was distraught about the debt, which was supposed to be paid in November 2013.

Parker had been in trouble before, accused of setting a 1990 fire in an 1830s cabin he had been renovating for its owners. Jon Setzer, believing that Parker hadn’t committed the crime, defended him in the arson case. The result was a four-year term of probation and a $40,000 fine.

During the investigation of the murder case, Lea said, another issue arose. Parker admitted he had written a $12,000 check he stole from Setzer’s office and cashed it, the prosecutor stated.

The Tennessean and WSMV also have stories.

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