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'He's trying to kill me,' slain strategist's husband recalls of stabbing

Posted March 10, 2015
Updated March 11, 2015

— At times Tuesday, Nation Hahn closed his eyes as he relived the last moments he spent in the north Raleigh home he shared with his wife – Jamie Kirk Hahn – and how he tried to wrestle the 8-inch-bladed chef's knife from the hands of their close friend – Jonathan Broyhill – after he stabbed her several times.

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It was after 5 p.m. on the afternoon of April 22, 2013, and the 28-year-old had been upstairs getting ready to go for a run when he heard his wife call out.

"She screamed, 'Nation,' but she also screamed 'Jon.' My immediate assumption was that something happened with him," Nation Hahn told jurors in Broyhill's first-degree murder trial. "The way she was screaming his name, it just sounded like he had passed out or something."

As he ran to find out what was wrong, Jamie Hahn called out again.

"I was halfway down the stairs, and she screamed out, 'He's trying to kill me,'" Nation Hahn said.

He found his wife – the two had just recently celebrated four years of marriage – lying on the kitchen floor and Broyhill – the best man in their wedding – standing over her with a knife.

Nation Hahn recalled trying "desperately" to get the knife from his longtime friend – referring to him often in his testimony as "the defendant" – and in the process, suffering serious stab wounds to his hands that would require surgery as well as months of treatment and therapy.

"I wanted to get to her," Nation Hahn testified. "I was screaming for her to leave."

The next thing he remembered was his wife clutching her side in a neighbor's yard while he screamed for help. Eventually, Jamie Hahn was lying on the ground being comforted by that neighbor.

"I just remember telling her that I loved her. We said it back and forth, promising her we would have a lot more anniversaries," Nation Hahn said. "My last clear memory was of just standing there was having my hand bandaged and EMS taking her away."

Jamie Hahn died of her injuries two days later.

"I felt like she was going to make it," Nation Hahn said.

Wake County prosecutors say Broyhill "relentlessly attacked" and "selfishly murdered" the 29-year-old political strategist who had hired him to work off and on for her fundraising firm and to manage the campaign finances of one of her biggest clients, former U.S. Congressman Brad Miller.

The state maintains that Broyhill had embezzled more than $45,000 between 2011 and 2013 from the campaign and feigned serious medical issues – multiple sclerosis, gallstones and pancreatic cancer – in an attempt to keep Jamie Hahn from pressing him on financial matters related to Miller's campaign.

But defense attorneys say Broyhill, who slit his wrists and stabbed himself in the stomach, had meant to kill himself. "Something snapped," however, that caused him to go after the Hahns.

Over and over Tuesday, Nation Hahn also testified about how the couple, for years, loved Broyhill and cared for him and included him in their lives.

They vacationed together, attended church together and lived together for a while after Broyhill moved to the Triangle from his hometown of Lenoir.

"He and Jamie became close very quickly," Nation Hahn testified, adding that the two grew even closer after Broyhill came out as gay.

Broyhill was a frequent visitor to their home, often spending the night; and he and Jamie Hahn, Nation Hahn recalled, often got together on Monday nights to watch "The Bachelorette," "Dancing With the Stars" and other "crappy reality shows."

The couple was also there for him through what they thought were major medical issues in his life, Nation Hahn testified.

When Broyhill told them in 2012 that he had multiple sclerosis, Jamie Hahn started cooking more kale because she read that it helped slow the disease's progression.

When he told them he had gall bladder surgery on April 2, 2013, she invited him to recover at their north Raleigh home for several days, even calling Nation Hahn to pick up Jell-O for Broyhill on his way home from work one night.

And when Broyhill told the couple on April 9, 2013, that he might have pancreatic cancer, she hurried home to comfort him.

"It was a very trying night," Nation Hahn said. "This was a real blow just to know that someone that was such a good friend was facing something so serious."

"Jamie was real torn up, as was I," Nation Hahn added, recalling a moment later that night in their bedroom. "She lay down beside me and started sobbing. Someone who we considered so close to us was facing what we considered a death sentence."

Less than two weeks later, on April 22, 2013, everything seemed fine to Nation Hahn as he arrived home from work.

Jamie Hahn was on the phone in her home office working. Nation Hahn spoke briefly with Broyhill and gave him a hug before going upstairs to change.

"It was just a normal conversation," he said.


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