Political strategists stabbed in their North Raleigh home; longtime friend charged

ablythe@newsobserver.com, tmcdonald@newsobserver.comApril 23, 2013 

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Jamie and Nation Hahn often opened their North Raleigh home to Jonathan Broyhill, who was the best man at their 2009 wedding.

Both Nation Hahn and Broyhill hailed from Lenoir, and the three shared common interests beyond their jobs as Democratic strategists, fundraisers and campaigners. They often watched college basketball together, and their Facebook walls show photos of them with each other at places both near and far.

On Monday nights, the three routinely gathered at the Hahn home for supper, friends said. But such a gathering took a dark and horrid turn Monday, leaving Jamie Hahn, 29, fighting for her life from stab wounds. Raleigh police say Broyhill, 31, inflicted those wounds.

Nation Hahn, 27, was injured in the attack, too, according to police. He spent most of Tuesday by his wife’s bedside at WakeMed, where many family and friends gathered.

Later Tuesday, he participated in a prayer vigil at Raleigh’s Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, where all three were active.

“This is a very difficult thing, and Jamie is barely hanging on,” the Rev. Nancy Petty told more than 100 people gathered at the church.

Another vigil was held Tuesday at New Kind, a Raleigh branding agency where Nation Hahn works.

The couple’s family issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, thanking the community for the many “thoughts and expressions of love.”

“Jamie Hahn is fighting for her life and Nation, her husband, is by her side,” the statement said. “Our families and her friends are devastated. … Jamie is a strong and courageous young woman and a bright light to us all. Pray for her.”

Broyhill was at WakeMed, too, recuperating from what friends described as non-life threatening injuries.

Police have charged Broyhill with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. They have not described a motive for the attack, other than to say “the events underlying the incident were not domestic in nature.”

Law enforcement officers have not disclosed how Broyhill was injured.

News of the incident spread quickly through political circles Monday night and Tuesday. Many expressed their concerns in tweets and on Facebook walls. Others rushed to WakeMed with many questions about what had happened.

A frantic call

Emergency dispatchers received a 911 phone call from a woman shortly before 5:30 p.m. Monday. The caller, whom police did not identify, frantically described Jamie Hahn as “bleeding terribly,” according to a recording of the call.

The caller described multiple wounds in the abdomen area. The people who had gathered to help had lifted her feet and were pressing towels against her midsection, hoping to stem the bleeding.

“She’s here in someone else’s yard,” the caller said. “I don’t know where she ran here from.”

With police on the way, the dispatcher asked the caller whether anyone knew who had stabbed Hahn, and an unidentified voice responded, “Jon Broyhill.”

Police arrived on the scene and followed a trail of blood from Tealbriar Drive to nearby Tealwood Place, where they found Broyhill in the Hahns’ home and additional blood, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.

‘A ray of sunshine’

“Jamie is a ray of sunshine,” said state Sen. Josh Stein, a Democrat from Wake County who knew all three from political events. “She’s always smiling. She absolutely brings cheer wherever she goes, and that this has happened is tragic.”

In recent years, Broyhill had worked with Jamie Hahn at Sky Blue Strategies, a company she founded to help politicians and advocacy- and issue-oriented campaigns with fundraising.

On a previous company website page, Broyhill was listed as a member of the Sky Blue team who brought a strong background in accounting and politics. In 2010, he managed the field campaign for Jane Dyer, a pilot in South Carolina running for a U.S. congressional seat.

He also worked with former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller of Raleigh.

Nation Hahn also is well known among North Carolina Democrats as an online strategist who has helped many politicians and nonprofit organizations with direct mail and email campaigns.

The groups he has worked with include the Coalition to Protect All N.C. Families, a campaign opposed to the state constitutional amendment that limits marriage to a union between a man and a woman. He also worked with the N.C. Sierra Club, the United Football League and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign.

Nation and Jamie Hahn, both graduates of UNC-Chapel Hill, were married in April 2009 at the First Baptist Church in Orangeburg, S.C., where many in the bride’s family lived.

Broyhill, listed as “a friend of the groom,” served as the best man.

‘This is devastating’

“As a friend, this is devastating,” said Gary Pearce, a Democratic strategist who was at WakeMed with family members Tuesday. “Nation and Jamie are the finest, kindest, gentlest and most generous people you will ever meet.”

Miller, who planned to return to Raleigh from out of town late Tuesday, echoed similar thoughts.

“It grieves me deeply that this has happened,” Miller said.

As questions remained unanswered about the details of Monday night, Nation Hahn, with both hands bandaged, talked at Pullen Memorial about the kind nature of his wife.

“She would be the first one to forgive this act of violence against her,” he said.

Petty talked of the importance of prayer at a time like this.

“Pray for Jamie. Pray for Nation. And yes, pray for Jon,” Petty said.

Blythe: 919-836-4948