Wife Of Stringbean's Convicted Killer Speaks Out - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Wife Of Stringbean's Convicted Killer Speaks Out

Dave "Stringbean" Akeman (left) and John Brown Dave "Stringbean" Akeman (left) and John Brown
Brown's wife, Debra Brown Brown's wife, Debra Brown

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - What type of woman waits more than 34 years for a man who committed murder?

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.

Brown is eligible for parole.

His wife declined all television interviews until now. She spoke exclusively with NewsChannel 5 reporter Nick Beres.

Presently, two members of the state parole board voted in favor of Brown's release and two others opposed.

He earns his release if he gets two more votes in favor from two of the three remaining parole board members.

"Neither one of us wants to make excuses for that heinous act. Neither one of us want to do that. We don't shrug off the fact that the public grieves," she said.

Thirty-four years ago, her then fiancé came home late. When she asked why he told her he'd killed the "Hee Haw" star and his wife, Estelle Akeman during a botched robbery.

"And I looked at him and said,' How could you do something like that?'" she said.

Brown was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. She married him anyway.

When asked why she waited more than 34 years for Brown, she replied, "Well, because I love him. I made a commitment. I made a promise and I kept it."

Brown works at Cornerstone Church in Madison. In her in her office, surrounded by items made by her husband in prison, she looks for news of his possible parole.

Brown's recent parole hearing grabbed headlines. Those against his release have taken up petitions.

Brown agreed to an exclusive interview not to challenge them.

"I'm not insensitive to the way they feel. I feel the same way. It was wrong, and John's been punished," she said.

"He killed those two people. Why should he be given parole?" Beres said.

"There's another side to John Brown and I want people to see that," she said.

As she thumbs through photographs, reminders of a marriage shared with a man she rarely saw, she said he changed in prison. She said he turned to God and started helping others and staying out of trouble.

But the murders cannot be forgotten.

"The animosity of the public is still very strong. I don't blame them for that," she said.

She knows he can never replace the lost lives. Her 57-year-old husband now can only hope for parole.

"He can never earn the right. Mercy and grace are not earned, it's given. All we can ask is for mercy and grace."

She knows the chances are slim for parole, but if her husband is released, he will join her at the church.

Senior Pastor Maury Davis said he will provide John Brown with a job.

The parole board's decision is expected shortly. Four of the seven board members have voted and it's dead-locked at two.

Brown needs two more votes in favor before he's released.

Brown and his cousin, Marvin Brown were convicted for the double murder. Marvin Brown died in prison.

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