Defense claims Broyhill murder of Democratic strategist Jamie Hahn was not premeditated

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Defense attorney Caroline Elliot told a Raleigh jury Wednesday morning that Jonathan Broyhill did not go to the home of prominent North Carolina Democratic strategist Jamie Hahn in April 2013 with the intent to kill her. Instead, Elliot said Broyhill intended to kill himself.

In her opening statement to a jury of five men and seven women, Elliot said the state does not have the evidence to prove the killing was premeditated, and therefore Broyhill should not be convicted of first-degree murder.

Jameson "Jamie" Kirk Hahn and her husband Nation Richard Hahn

In his opening remarks, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Doug Faucette called the case heartbreaking and said Broyhill "selfishly" murdered Hahn - who he called an energetic 29-year-old dedicated to service to others.

Broyhill was a long-time friend of Jamie Hahn and her husband Nation. He met Nation in their mutual hometown of Lenoir, North Carolina on a church trip in 2000.

They stayed close after Nation left to attend college at UNC and served as best man at Nation and Jamie's wedding in 2009.

After graduation, Jamie Hahn formed a political consulting firm called Sky Blue Strategies and took on the job of fundraising for the campaign of Congressman Brad Miller. Jamie did the fundraising, and she hired Broyhill to do the accounting and financial reporting to the Federal Election Commission.

Broyhill's attorneys admit that between 2011 and 2013, he wrote himself checks from the campaign account totaling more than $46,500.

Not only that, over the years of their friendship, he told the Hahns he had multiple sclerosis, needed gall bladder surgery, and had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

None of it was true, and even though the Hahns drove him to doctor's appointments and waited for him, he never actually saw a doctor.

In 2012, Congressman Miller announced he was not running for reelection and the campaign began to wind down.

While Broyhill stopped working for Blue Sky at the end of 2012, he was still responsible for providing financial information to Jamie Hahn and for helping her prepare final financial statements for the Federal Election Commission.

He prepared a draft statement that said that Miller's personal loans to his own campaign had been repaid and that the campaign checking account had a balance of over $60,000 - when it was actually overdrawn.

Jamie Hahn realized there was a problem when a Time Warner bill collector contacted her about an unpaid bill and said the check written to cover the amount had bounced.

Jamie and Broyhill were to meet at her home on April 22, 2013 to talk about the issues. Her husband Nation came home early that afternoon and saw them talking before heading upstairs.

He next heard his wife screaming and came down to find her bloody on the kitchen floor and Broyhill standing over her with an 8-inch knife.

Nation came to her defense, and suffered multiple serious cuts to his hands and he defended himself. He yelled to Jamie to run, and she went down the street to get help. Nation was also able to get away and run from the house to her.

Despite numerous surgeries to try and save her life, Jamie passed away days later at WakeMed. An autopsy report showed she was stabbed 24 times.

After the Hahns ran from the house, Broyhill slashed his own wrists and cut himself in the abdomen.

The prosecution says Broyhill purchased the knife before the attacks and brought it to the house with the intent to kill Hahn - showing premeditation - and he should be convicted of first-degree murder.

The defense has tried to paint a more sympathetic picture of the defendant. In her opening statement, Elliot said Broyhill's parents separated when he was in high school and that he came out as gay to the Hahns just before their wedding. She called him a man with "deep problems" who lied repeatedly to his best friends and was "overwhelmed by life."

She said he brought the knife to the house to kill himself, but something in him "snapped."

"The undisputed evidence will show that Jon intended to take his own life," said Elliot. "It's all so irrational. It's all so bizarre. It doesn't point to a rational attempt to cover up his crimes."

Elliot said after the attack, Broyhill didn't attempt to run, but cut his wrists and "laid on the kitchen floor waiting to die."

Court officials indicated that it could take two to three weeks to try the case.

Broyhill faces first-degree murder charges, two charges of attempted first-degree murder, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

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