Wake prosecutor: Broyhill 'selfishly murdered' his longtime friend
Posted March 4, 2015
Updated March 5, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — The man accused of "selfishly murdering" his longtime friend and political colleague lied to her about having cancer and other health problems to keep her from pressing him on financial matters related to a congressional campaign the two had worked on, a Wake County prosecutor said Wednesday.
Jonathan Wayne Broyhill, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the April 22, 2013, stabbing of Jamie Kirk Hahn, 29, who died two days later from wounds she received at her north Raleigh home. Broyhill also faces charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill in the stabbing of Hahn's husband, Nation Hahn, who interrupted the attack.
A close friend of the couple and the best man in their wedding in 2009, Broyhill had worked for Jamie Hahn's fundraising firm, Sky Blue Strategies, which former North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller had hired to raise money for his re-election campaign.
Broyhill managed the campaign committee's finances and had control of the checkbook, Assistant District Attorney Doug Faucette said in opening statements of Broyhill’s murder trial. Between 2011 and 2013, Broyhill wrote himself 39 checks totaling more than $45,000, leaving the bank account with a negative balance.
After Miller decided in 2012 not to seek re-election, Jamie Hahn had, unsuccessfully, been trying to meet with Broyhill in early 2013 to settle the campaign's finances and pay outstanding bills.
"The evidence will show that the defendant was hard to pin down and (not) cooperating with Jamie in that endeavor," Faucette said.
To complicate matters, he said, Broyhill told the Hahns in 2012 that he had multiple sclerosis, and he complained of painful gallstones, which he said forced him into surgery in April 2013 – the same time he also told his friends that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
"As each medical issue materialized, Jamie would step back from pressing the defendant to meet with her … and to try to resolve these outstanding Brad Miller wind-down issues," Faucette said. "Instead, she would turn her attention, her sympathy and her efforts to help her friend to get through these awful health issues, including driving him to the doctor and waiting."
Acknowledging that Hahn's death was a tragedy, defense attorneys called Broyhill's actions – his stealing and his lies – "entirely irrational" and "so bizarre" and said the attacks on his best friends couldn't be explained other than to say that he had snapped.
"We anticipate that, over the next few weeks, the state is going to say that this is about the money and that Jon lied to distract Jamie and Nation Hahn from his actions," attorney Caroline Elliot said. "And when he knew he couldn't get away with the theft anymore, he attacked those he loved."
The motive, Elliot said, was suicide. After stabbing the Hahns, she said, Broyhill slit his own wrists and plunged the knife into his stomach.
"The undisputed evidence will show that Jon was determined to take his own life," she said. "When you look at what the facts really show, the evidence is going to paint the picture of a tormented soul who had become so depressed and so despondent that he was ready to end his existence."
Broyhill, a longtime friend of Nation Hahn, was raised in a conservative Christian family and was estranged from his mother. He was also gay and had come out to the Hahns in 2008.
To the couple, his sexual orientation wasn't a big deal, Elliot said.
"It was a big deal, however, for Jon to come out to them since that was a part of his life that he couldn't share with many others, particularly his family back in Lenoir," Elliot said.
On the day of the attacks, Faucette said, Broyhill carried concealed in his backpack an 8-inch-bladed chef's knife to the couple's home, where he and Jamie Hahn had planned to talk about Miller's campaign finances.
Nation Hahn was in another room when he heard screaming, and he walked in to find his wife on the kitchen floor. He interrupted, giving her a chance to escape.
Suffering stab wounds to her back, chest, abdomen and cheek – according to an autopsy report – she was able to find her way to a neighbor's yard, where she collapsed.
"As difficult as it will be, (Nation Hahn) will revisit that day with us – the day his heart broke – and it begins with Jamie screaming," Faucette told the jury of five men and seven women.
"You will learn of kind neighbors calling 911, trying to comfort a quickly fading Jamie. You'll hear of a traumatized and bloodied Nation as he desperately promises his wife that they'll enjoy a long future together," Faucette continued. "Whether either person knew it at the time, we know those promises go unfulfilled. Jamie will lose consciousness in the ambulance ride to WakeMed, never again to acknowledge her loving husband or to say goodbye to her parents."