The man who murdered Opry star David 'Stringbean' Akeman and his wife in 1973 appeared before parole board members on Wednesday (April 23) to ask to be released.

John A. Brown and his cousin, Doug Marvin Brown, killed the Akemans in what they claimed was a botched robbery on Nov. 10, 1973. The two men had been at the couple's cabin when they returned from the Opry. John shot Stringbean as he entered the home, before chasing his wife Estelle into the front yard and shooting her in the back of the head.

According to Nashville's Tennessean, John and Doug were both sentenced to two life sentences, but Doug died in prison in 2003.

"I'm truly sorry," Brown said at the hearing. "I can't undo anything to change my past. I've committed the last 40 years to changing my life."

Brown appeared before two of seven parole board members to try to explain how 40 years in prison has changed him. A final decision is expected within two weeks, after the five remaining board members review the case.

Board member Gay Gregson, who watched the video conference from Jackson, voted to deny release due to the crime's severity. Patsy Bruce, a board member who watched from Nashville, voted to continue the case to October with a psychological evaluation of Brown pending. Brown will need four votes in favor of parole to be released.

"I don't want to see him have another breath of free air," Opry member and close friend of the Akemans Jan Howard said at the hearing. "It was not a robbery gone bad, a burglary gone bad. It was premeditated."