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Burman Lee Akers denied parole in 1996 Huntsville murder case

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.  – Burman Lee Akers was denied parole Tuesday morning. Akers was convicted of felony murder for the 1996 killing of Robert Hartman at Hartman Automotive in Huntsville.

A jury found that Akers had killed Hartman and taken a car off his lot. Hartman’s throat was slit multiple times.

Hartman’s widow, Bernadette Hartman Van Pelt, opened up about the case to WHNT News 19 for the first time this year, making a plea to keep Akers behind bars.

Ahead of the hearing, she told us, “This is our third trip to Montgomery to keep him in. He’s been in prison now for approximately 20 years.”

She says each time he comes up for parole, “We’re kind of consumed with it until we can go down there and make our plea.”

Akers had his parents speak for him at the hearing. Hartman’s family, the Huntsville Police Department, and Madison County District Attorney’s Office all spoke against his release.

Akers was denied for the maximum amount of time, so he will not come up for parole again for another five years.