John A. Brown, center, arrested in connection with the murders of David “Stringbean” Akeman and his wife, Estelle, was brought to Metro police headquarters Jan. 16, 1974. (Photo: Jimmy Ellis / The Tennessean)


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The man who killed “Hee Haw” star and Grand Ole Opry performer David “Stringbean” Akeman and his wife, Estelle, four decades ago has been granted parole.

Melissa McDonald with the Tennessee Board of Parole told News 2 the board voted Wednesday morning to grant John Brown parole.

Brown has served 40 years of his 198-year sentence for killing the Akemans in 1973 as they returned to their home following a performance at the Opry.

In order to achieve parole, McDonald said there must be four concurring votes. Wednesday morning’s vote was conducted by five of the seven member board. Four voted to parole and one voted to decline. Read More…

On Saturday, November 10th, 1973, David Akeman, better known to country music fans as “Stringbean” had performed as he often did on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry Hour. As he was performing two men drove up to his property in Tennessee and broke into his home.

They turned on the radio listening to their victim pluck his banjo strings as they ransacked his place looking for money. When, they failed to find any cash, it resulted in the crooks spending more time than they had initially intended in the residence.

Later that evening, Stringbean returned home with his wife Estelle while the thieves were still inside his house. He, presumably, heard noises from inside his home since he entered with his handgun drawn, instructing his wife to stay in the car. A struggle ensued and Stringbean was shot. Estelle got out of the vehicle, terrified. She was chased down the driveway and assassinated. The men left without any money – just a chainsaw, a pillowcase and some guns.

Three thousand dollars in cash remained in the bib of Stringbean’s overalls. Two thousand dollars remained in Estelle’s pockets, as she lay lifeless in the grass. Fellow Hee Haw star and good friend of Stringbean’s Grandpa Jones discovered their bodies the next morning.

A police investigation resulted in the convictions of cousins John A. Brown and Marvin Douglas Brown, both 23 years old at the time of the murders. In 2003 Marvin died of natural causes while in prison and now John is free to walk the streets.