Raleigh man goes to trial for political strategist's stabbing death
Posted February 23, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a Raleigh man accused of killing a longtime friend and colleague – described as a "rising star" in the Democratic Party – and trying to kill her husband just days after the couple celebrated their four-year wedding anniversary.
Jonathan Wayne Broyhill, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the April 22, 2013, stabbing of Jamie Kirk Hahn, 29, in her north Raleigh home on Tealwood Place.
Broyhill also faces charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill in the stabbing of Nation Hahn, whose left fingers were "severely sliced," according to an indictment.
The trial will last about three weeks, and if convicted, Broyhill could face a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Broyhill's defense attorney, Joseph Arbour, told potential jurors Monday afternoon that his client stabbed Jamie Hahn but suggested that the crime did not warrant a first-degree murder charge.
"We live in a society that defines the crime of murder in different ways," Arbour said, going on to explain aspects of the law to the jury pool.
"The trial is not always about whether something happened but is often about what happened and why," Arbour continued.
Raleigh police have released few details about Jamie Hahn's death, but search warrants indicate Broyhill admitted to bringing a knife to the Hahns' home, where sources say he had gone for dinner.
Nation Hahn was in another room when he heard screaming, according to the sources, and he walked in on Broyhill allegedly attacking his wife.
Stabbed in her back, chest, abdomen and cheek – according to an autopsy report – Jamie Hahn was able to escape but collapsed in a neighbor's yard. She died two days later.
Broyhill – who, according to Arbour, tried to kill himself – was hospitalized for several days before he was charged.
"There is evidence in this case – I don't think the state will dispute – that our client attempted suicide in these matters, and that goes to state of mind with respect to theories of what caused the homicide to occur," Arbour told the court prior to jury selection.
The Hahns were highly regarded in Raleigh's political circles for their work on high-profile Democratic campaigns, including the re-election campaign of former Congressman Brad Miller and the 2008 presidential campaign of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards.
The couple met on the Edwards campaign trail and married April 18, 2009. Broyhill was the best man at their wedding.
"You couldn't really know Nation and Jamie without knowing Jon," Miller told WRAL News after Jamie Hahn's death. "They were together all the time."
Broyhill had also worked for Jamie Hahn's political fundraising firm, Sky Blue Strategies, and managed Miller's campaign funds.
Miller said shortly after Jamie Hahn's death that she had planned to confront Broyhill about nearly $60,000 missing from the campaign.
Although investigators have not commented on a motive, search warrants indicate that Broyhill faced embezzlement allegations.
Authorities, however, have not charged him with any other crimes.