Stringbean murderer to go free?

Dave Akeman a.ka. StringbeanThe July 26 edition of The Tennessean, Nashville’s hometown paper, has a story sure to be of interest to the many fans of Dave Akeman, a.k.a. Stringbean, one of the most beloved entertainers in the history of traditional string music.

He was senselessly murdered on Nov. 10, 1973 along with his wife, Estelle, when they returned from a Grand Ole Opry show to find intruders lying in wait for them in their home. The bodies were discovered by close friend and fellow Opry star, Grandpa Jones.

John A. Brown and his cousin, the late Doug Marvin Brown, were convicted of their murders and sentenced to 198 years in prison, but it seems Brown may be on his way home from prison in the near future.

The piece in The Tenessean by Kate Howard tells the tale…

As country music changed and Nashville generations passed, the fame of slain Hee Haw star Dave “Stringbean” Akeman faded.

This week, the state parole board heard all the reasons why the man who shot Akeman and his wife deserves a second chance, 34 years later. About a half-dozen spoke on behalf of convicted killer John A. Brown.

But the killer’s name didn’t ring a bell with anyone in the district attorney’s office when the possibility of Brown’s freedom came up. Most of the loved ones who spoke up in the past, Opry legends Roy Acuff and Porter Wagoner among them, have passed on. They had no children. And the friends who remain were never told a hearing was coming.

So, nobody stood to talk about the lasting impact of the day an unassuming country star named Stringbean was killed for his money, and his wife was silenced with a bullet while she begged for her life.

According to Howard, there are two parole board members who have yet to vote on this matter, and Brown will be freed should they vote in favor. You can read the full piece on the Tennessean site.

Here is a YouTube clip of String (as he was known to his many friends) appearing on television in 1971 on the Del Reeves Country Carnival show.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.