Broyhill trial juror dismissed after concerns he talked about case
Posted March 11, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A Superior Court judge on Wednesday dismissed a juror in the Wake County murder trial of a man accused of stabbing a Democratic political strategist two years ago.
The dismissal came after a concerned juror sent a note late Tuesday afternoon to Judge Paul Ridgeway letting him know that she heard Juror No. 1 talking about discussing the case with his wife.
Ridgeway has repeatedly ordered jurors not to talk about the case with anyone.
When Ridgeway asked about the possible misconduct Wednesday, Juror No. 1 said his wife has been watching trial coverage online but that he did not discuss details about it with her. He admitted he should have avoided the discussion.
Ridgeway then individually questioned the remaining jurors – seven women and four men – to determine what they heard and to find out if they could be impartial for the rest of the trial.
All agreed they could, and Ridgeway then replaced Juror No. 1 with a male alternate juror. Ridgeway denied the defense's request for a mistrial.
Wednesday marked the sixth day of testimony in Jonathan Broyhill's trial.
Prosecutors say the 33-year-old stabbed Jamie Kirk Hahn while visiting her and her husband at their north Raleigh home on April 22, 2013. She died two days later.
Hahn's husband, Nation Hahn, testified Tuesday and Wednesday that he was upstairs when he heard his wife screaming and that he walked in on Broyhill in the kitchen standing over her with a knife. Nation Hahn said he was injured when he tried to get the knife away from him.
Moments before the attack, Nation Hahn said, Jamie Hahn had been in her office – where she ran the political fundraising firm Sky Blue Strategies – and Nation Hahn had a brief conversation with Broyhill before heading upstairs.
Nation Hahn testified Tuesday that everything seemed normal.
In a statement to authorities, Nation Hahn told them that Broyhill "looked stone-faced" during the attack, defense attorney Joseph Arbour pointed out during cross-examination Wednesday.
"This was the same person who moments ago had given you a hug when you came through the door?" Arbour asked Nation Hahn.
"Yes, sir," he replied.
The Hahns and Broyhill were longtime friends. Broyhill met Nation Hahn on a church trip in 2000 and met Jamie Hahn several years later when the couple started dating.
Eventually, Broyhill went to work for Sky Blue, where between 2011 and 2013 he allegedly embezzled more than $45,000 from the campaign of former Congressman Brad Miller. Wake County prosecutors say he then lied about having serious medical issues, including pancreatic cancer, to keep Jamie Hahn from pressing him on financial matters related to the campaign.
Nation Hahn said he did not think Jamie Hahn knew about the embezzling but that there had been signs of financial trouble. Checks were bouncing, bills were not being paid and campaign finance reports were not being filed on time. There was also an issue of a personal loan to Miller that had not been paid.
By March 2013, Nation Hahn said, Jamie Hahn was frustrated that the financial matters hadn't been resolved. Every time Jamie Hahn would try to meet with Broyhill, Nation Hahn said, Broyhill would have a reason not to meet.
"She wanted to focus on being his friend, (not boss)," Nation Hahn said.
Jamie Hahn, he said, wanted to take care of who she thought was her ailing friend.
"Jamie mothered almost everyone in her life," Nation Hahn said.
Defense attorneys say Broyhill – who stabbed himself in the stomach and slit his wrists after attacking the Hahns – never planned to do so and that he took the knife to the Hahns' home because he was wanting to kill himself.
Broyhill struggled with being gay, and his sexual identity along with insecurities about his weight and family issues led him to depression.
Suicide was his motive, the defense has said – not money.