Stringbean’s killer paroled in Tennesee

StringbeanThough parole had been consistently denied for 40 years, today John A. Brown, convicted in the 1973 murder of Dave “Stringbean” Akeman and his wife Estelle, was granted parole and is set for release from the Tennessee prison system. His initial sentence had been for 198 years.

Before previous parole hearings, Nashville’s country music icons had generated email or letter-writing campaigns to protest the potential release of the perpetrator of this particularly violent robbery and murder which occurred following a Stringbean Grand Ole Opry performance on November 10, 1973. They were found dead the next morning by their dear friends and property co-owners, Grandpa and Ramona Jones.

Also convicted of the murders was Brown’s cousin, Doug Marvin Brown, who died in prison in 2013.

In 2009, Sam Bush, Verlon Thompson, and Guy Clark wrote a song about the incident, called The Ballad of Stringbean and Estelle. It was included on Bush’s Circle’s Around Me album.


akemansMany Nashville residents and country/bluegrass music fans who recall the grisly details of the Akeman’s murders still bear substantial ill will towards the Browns, and have voiced displeasure over the Parole Board’s recommendation.

Peter Cooper has a terrific remembrance of Stringbean, and a recollection of the case, in The Tennessean today.

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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.