'Stringbean' killer pleads to parole board

The man who murdered Grand Ole Opry star David 'Stringbean' Akeman and his wife in 1973 spent Wednesday morning explaining how he's changed after 40 years in prison.

John A. Brown now wants to be released on parole.

He presented his case to two of seven parole board members Wednesday from the Lois DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville.

The final decision is expected in 1-2 weeks after other board members review the case and cast a vote. Four votes in favor of parole are needed for him to be released.

Gay Gregson, one board member who watched the video conference from Jackson, voted to deny Brown's release because of the severity of the crime.

Patsy Bruce, who watched from the Nashville office, voted to continue the case to October pending a psychological evaluation on Brown's propensity for violence and any adjustment needs he might have prior to a release.

"I don't want to see him have another breath of free air," said Jan Howard, an Opry member and close friend of the Akemans, at the hearing. "It was not a robbery gone bad, a burglary gone bad. It was premeditated."

Brown, now 63, and his cousin Doug Marvin Brown waited for the Akemans' at their Ridgetop cabin on the evening of Nov. 10, 1973 as they returned home from the Opry. John Brown shot Stringbean Akeman as he walked into the cabin and then chased his wife Estelle in the front yard and shot her in the back of the head.

Both John Brown and Doug Brown were sentenced to two life sentences. Doug Brown died in prison in 2003.

"I'm truly sorry," Brown said. "I can't undo anything to change my past. I've committed the last 40 years to changing my life."


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