Wilson Co. Explosion Suspect Previously Arrested For Arson

Wilson Co. Explosion Suspect Previously Arrested For Arson

CREATED Feb 15, 2014

LEBANON, Tenn. - The suspect charged in a deadly explosion in Wilson County has a history of arson, according to court documents. 

 A family has been torn apart by violence after an explosion claimed the life of a Lebanon couple. On Thursday, their son-in-law was named the prime suspect.

Those closest to the family said they didn't see it coming, but others said they knew Richard Parker had a dark side. NewsChannel 5 obtained court documents from an arson incident involving Parker from 1990.

"He told Danny and I (renovations) would be finished by Friday," Rosemary Martin said of Parker who they hired to renovate their 5,000 sq. foot Giles County home. "Come July the 13th, a Friday, 1990 our house burned down," Danny Martin remembered.

Danny and Rosemary Martin, said even before Parker was charged with burning down their home that he was hired to renovate, they noticed he was showing signs of odd behavior, like writing meticulous notes about his day.

"You almost had to know the dark side of him and I saw that," said Danny Martin.

Parker was convicted of arson in 1993. He got four years of probation. Martin said he believes Parker burned down their home to save face to his family, because he couldn't keep up with the work.

"Have you ever had something in your life to make you feel like time stood still and that you were running in place," Rosemary Martin asked. "That's what our lives felt like for years."

However, those that attended church with Richard Parker and his family at the First Church of Nazarene for years said he was great with kids and well-loved in the community.

"He was a strong but gentle man," said Sabrina Jones, a friend of the family's for 14 years.

This Vance Lane property was the site of many church events and parties, but for the last several days it was the epicenter of a crime scene after an explosion killed Jon and Marian Setzer.

"The gentleness that people see is not what we see at all," Rosemary Martin said.

Investigators said that Parker put the explosive device there, though they still won't disclose a possible motive. Some said there were no signs of trouble between Parker and his in-laws or even Parker and his wife.

Investigators confirmed they found several notes, magazines and other materials in and around blast area. They have not yet determined if they are directly or indirectly related to the case.

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