Wake County man appeals murder conviction in 2013 death of Jamie Hahn
Posted 6:55 a.m. Wednesday
Updated 10:43 p.m. Wednesday
Raleigh, N.C. — Jonathan Broyhill’s attorneys admit that he killed a colleague and good friend in 2015, but argued in an appeal hearing Wednesday that his actions don’t constitute first-degree murder.
"He did not premeditate and deliberate or have intent to kill," attorney Gordon Widenhouse said.
Broyhill was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing political strategist Jamie Hahn at her Raleigh home in 2013. Hahn died two days after being stabbed.
Broyhill's attorneys argued Wednesday that the judge should have let Broyhill's doctor testify at trial about his mental state, and the fact that he did not, violated his constitutional rights.
Widenhouse argued that Dr. Badri Hamra, Broyhill's doctor, would have testified that Broyhill was severely depressed and on medication at the time of the murder.
"We think if the jury had heard this testimony from Dr. Hamra, the jury would have been more likely to return a verdict of second-degree murder," Widenhouse said.
Wake County Assistant Attorney General Mary Carla Babb, said even with Hamra's testimony, there was plenty of evidence that Broyhill did commit first-degree murder.
"He had concealed the knife in his book bag," she said. "He grabs the knife and by his own words, walks up to her, stabs her in the back. He doesn't just stab her once, he continues to stab her, some of the wounds going all the way through her body."
Defense attorneys also have criticized the jury selection process, and argued that Broyhill's statements while in custody were not permitted as evidence.
"It was a difficult case, a tragic situation, but we're comfortable with the way it was tried," said Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman. "We're comfortable with the decisions that were made, and we believe the Court of Appeals will do the right thing in this case."
Prosecutors say Broyhill killed Hahn after she discovered he was embezzling from a congressman's campaign handled by her political fundraising business.
Broyhill was also convicted on charges of attempted murder for stabbing Jamie Hahn's husband, Nation Hahn.
A juror from the original trial said he is at peace with the outcome.
"For me, I can't speak for the other jurors obviously, but for me, it was rock solid. I mean, I had no doubt in my mind that this case was locked up, especially when we got to testimony that he was packed and ready to go, that he was planning to leave the country," said Kai Vannoy.
Vannoy said it took him about a year to work through the emotional and mental stress of having to sit through the trial.