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Tennessee package explosion: Lawyer killed by package bomb, accident ruled out

Front porch of a rural Tennessee home
Front porch of a rural Tennessee home
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Tennessee package explosion killed a 74-year-old lawyer this week in what police authorities believe to be a bomb placed on the front porch. Officials have ruled out the sudden explosion being an accident, though few details are known at this time as to the mysterious package’s contents or from whom it was sent. KOMO News reports this Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, that the man living inside the rural home in Tennessee — as well as an elderly woman in the vicinity — were caught in the fatal blast.

The package explosion destroyed much of the Tennessee home this Monday morning. Local authorities have confirmed that a well-respected lawyer in the area, 74-year-old Jon Setzer, as well as a 72-year-old woman, Marion Setzer, were hit when the bomb went off. While Marion survived and remains in critical condition at a local hospital, Jon was killed. At this time, the state Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that they are looking into the case but not commented on what specific type of package was sent to the unsuspecting victims in their Lebanon home.

"A package was delivered. As far as where or when, I can't give that information," a law enforcement spokeswoman Illana Tate noted.

Specialized agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are currently in cooperation with the state police force in an attempt to unravel the mystery behind this Tennessee package explosion. Photos taken at the scene of the detonated home reveal a number of crews wearing white hazmat suits investigating the property, while Bureau of Investigation vehicles were scattered across the home’s yard in an attempt to verify whether any other explosives might still be in the vicinity.

It is believed at this time that a mysterious package that likely held a bomb was dropped off on the front porch of the 74-year-old lawyer’s home on Monday, but further details remain elusive. However, officials have asserted they are working hard to crack this tragic case that claimed an innocent life and severely wounded another.

"We will be here night and day trying to come to the quickest resolution to this issue as we can," Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn added in a statement.

Investigators have ruled out the cause of the sudden explosion being an accident, saying that electrical malfunctions or something akin to a gas leak was not to blame for the fatal blast. Authorities confirmed to local media sources shortly afterward that a package bomb was the likely culprit. As of Tuesday evening, an $8,000 reward has been offered for anyone who can offer information leading to the source of the Tennessee package explosion or the person(s) who dropped it off at the Setzer’s home, killing the lawyer inside.

“A contractor for the home and family friend arrived at the detonated house about an hour after the blast on Monday, and noticed that both the front and back windows of the Setzer home had been completely shattered.”

He noted that the house was very well built, so it would have to be a powerful bomb and subsequent detonation to cause such damage to the residence.

"With the house as well-built as it was, it had to be a huge explosion," said the contractor. "It's just a huge mystery that a terrible thing has happened to good people."

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