Debra Brown's husband John A. Brown killed Dave "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife more than three decades ago. It was one of Nashville's most infamous murders.
John Brown's next parole hearing is on July 19, 2011.
NewsChannel 5 Nashville, TN
On a Saturday night in late 1973, David "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife returned home after he performed at the Grand Ole Opry. Both were shot dead shortly after their arrival. The killers had waited for hours. The bodies were discovered the following morning by their neighbor, Grandpa Jones.
A police investigation resulted in the convictions of cousins John A. Brown and Marvin Douglas Brown, both 23 years old. They had ransacked the cabin and killed Stringbean when he arrived. His wife shrieked when she saw her husband murdered. She begged for her life, but was shot as well. According to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, "Upon their return, Mr. Akeman spotted the intruders in his home and evidently offered some resistance. One of the Brown cousins fatally shot Mr. Akeman, then pursued, shot and killed Mrs. Akeman. At their trial, each defendant blamed the other for the homicides."
The killers took only a chain saw and some firearms. In 1996, 23 years after the murders, $20,000 in paper money was discovered behind a chimney brick in Stringbean's home. The money had deteriorated to such an extent that it was not usable and had to be turned into a bank.
Marvin Douglas Brown fought his convictions in the appellate courts. On September 28, 1982, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial judge's order denying him a new trial. Marvin Brown ultimately granted an exclusive interview to Larry Brinton of the Nashville Banner. He admitted his part in the burglary and murders, but insisted John Brown fired the fatal shots. As Brown by his own admission had committed burglary (a felony) that resulted in death, Brown was legally guilty of murder, regardless of who fired the shots.
Marvin Brown died of natural causes in 2003, at the Brushy Mountain Prison, in Petros, Tennessee, and is buried in the prison cemetery. John Brown is incarcerated in a Tennessee Special Needs Facility. In July 2008, the Tennessee Parole Board deferred any parole for 36 months. He is next eligible for parole in July 2011. The A&E cable television network profiled the case on a 2003 episode of its City Confidential series.
David and Estelle Akeman are buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.