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Woman injured in Tenn. home explosion dies

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 13, 2014 at 11:28 am •  Published: February 13, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The wife of a retired, infirm attorney who died after a package exploded in the couple's rural Tennessee home has succumbed to her injuries, authorities said Thursday.

Friends of the couple say they have no idea who would want to kill 74-year-old Jon Setzer and his 72-year-old wife, Marion.

Federal agents say a package that had been delivered to the couple's Lebanon, Tenn., home exploded around 5 p.m. Monday. Jon Setzer was pronounced dead at the scene. Marion Setzer was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she died two days later.

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

Stark, who said he's known the Setzers for more than 30 years and attended church with them, described the former lawyer as a quiet, humble man whom no one would ever want to harm.

Investigators continue to sift through debris for clues inside the red-brick, two-story home, about 40 minutes east of Nashville. Authorities would not describe the package or give a possible motive for the crime.

Jon Setzer had been a longtime lawyer in Nashville, mostly working on wills and trusts, but was in declining health in recent years, Nashville attorney George Cate Jr. said. Cate had been in practice with Jon Setzer from 1979 until 1991, but the two continued to work in the same building when their partnership dissolved, the attorney said.

The former law partner described Jon Setzer as a very devout man who had once been highly organized in his law practice. But he said Setzer later had trouble getting back to clients after he moved out of his office and practiced law from his home.

"In those last few years, operating out of his home, he had several complaints from clients who had difficulty communicating with him," Cate said. "I attributed his failure to respond to clients to health problems," he said. Jon Setzer, Cate said, had high blood pressure, kidney problems and a number of other ailments that made him very ill.

John Lloyd, a retired dentist, said he has known the family for years, first when Marion Setzer worked for him as a hygienist in Nashville and later when they attended church together in Lebanon.

"They were two of the finest people I ever knew, good Christian people who loved their children," Lloyd said.

Lloyd said Marion Setzer stopped working for him when she became pregnant with the couple's son, Jon Leo Setzer Jr. The child died at age 3 when he was mauled by a neighbor's German shepherd in 1977.

The story was front-page news at the time as officials debated whether to have the dog put down.

Lloyd said Jon Setzer was in poor health in recent years and was rarely able to attend church.

Bob Taylor, who lived about a block from the Setzers for many years, said they were "nice folks" and good neighbors. Jon Setzer volunteered do the legal work to set up their local homeowners association. Taylor said he and his young children all helped search for the Setzers' little boy when he went missing. Taylor and his wife had not heard from the Setzers for a few years before they learned about the explosion on television.

"My wife was home by herself," he said. "It just knocked her for a loop.

"We have no idea, no clue, not even guesses as to who might be involved. He was just a gentle man. We were just stunned by the whole thing."


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