Born on July 4, 1916, a national holiday in the United States, David Akerman cultivated a passion for American culture from childhood. Starting with country music and the banjo, which he learned to play very early in the “clawhammer” style, a technique inherited from the beginning of the 20th century. The young musician was quick to get noticed by legends of the genre. This budding fame, however, did not pay off. So David Akerman decides to work on the farm to support himself, a way of life that country music rightly sings the praises of. The solo career of the man who was soon nicknamed “Stringbean” took off at the turn of the 1940s when he married a certain Estell Stanfill.
When he’s not scratching the strings of his banjo on stage, David Akerman leads a “rough” life, spraying himself with apple vinegar on his face and under his arms as a toilet. It was also the time when he met his best friend, Grandpa Jones, a banjo virtuoso like him. The duo embarks on a legendary tour, earning regular appearances on the airwaves of the Grand Ole Opry. Then come the 60s that “Stingbean” mainly devotes to recording studio albums when he does not join Grandpa Jones in the television show Hee Haw. The two men have also bought a farm together in Ridgetop, Tennessee, where each devotes his free time to a healthy and simple life with his wife. This idyllic life came to an abrupt end on Saturday, November 10, 1973 when two burglars shot David Akerman in his cabin, before placing a final bullet in the back of his wife’s neck.
Who are David Akerman’s killers?
Marvin and John Brown, 21 and 23, were sure they had worked out their plan down to the smallest detail. That day, David Akerman and Estell Stanfill were expected at the Grand Ole Opry. The burglars thus thought they had time to flush out the hiding place where the couple kept their small fortune estimated at 3000 dollars. After getting their hands on Grandpa Jones’ revolver and a rifle, the Brown brothers, on drugs and alcohol, decided to bank on the return of David Akerman to rob him, waiting in the dark with the music of their victim in their ears. The shooting will end up costing them far more than the $250 found on “Stringbean’s” body. Caught two days after the fact by the police, Marvin and John Brown will each receive a sentence of 198 years in prison. The first will die there in 2003, while the second will get justice to get out on parole in 2014.
David Akerman © DR