Man accused of stabbing Jamie Hahn gets public defender

ablythe@newsobserver.comApril 29, 2013 

— A Wake County public defender has been appointed to represent Jonathan Broyhill, the 31-year-old man that police plan to charge with murder in the stabbing death of political strategist Jamie Hahn.

Broyhill, according to court and law enforcement officials, remained at WakeMed late Monday recuperating from what they described as self-inflicted wounds. He had not been served with warrants tied to the week-old case, they said..

Joseph Arbour, an assistant public defender in Wake County, met with Broyhill in the hospital Monday.

Though it is unusual for a public defender to be appointed to a case before a first appearance in court, the state capital defender’s office occasionally seeks such an appointment, particularly when a case is getting much publicity.

“With so many people asking questions and the attention there has been to this, it can sometimes be confusing to know who you’re talking to,” Arbour said. “We just wanted him to know what his options are.”

Hahn, a fundraiser described as a rising star among Triangle Democrats, was stabbed inside her North Raleigh home on April 22. She died from the wounds early Wednesday. Her husband, Nation Hahn, was injured in the attack, too. He was treated and released with what have been described as defensive wounds.

Police quickly drew up warrants accusing Broyhill, the best man at the couple’s 2009 wedding, with murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. But his hospital stay complicated the legal process. In North Carolina, a defendant is allowed a first appearance before a judge within 24 hours after a warrant is served. Law enforcement officials were waiting to serve the warrants after hospital officials released Broyhill.

Arbour declined to describe Broyhill’s injuries, saying he had not talked with a doctor about them. He said Broyhill was able to talk and that most of their time was spent briefly getting to know each other.

Arbour also declined to discuss the case, saying “it’s very early in the representation” to know much.

Police have not described a motive for the attack.

Campaign questions

Former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, a Democrat from Wake County, said last week that he and others from his campaign had questions about Broyhill’s handling of campaign money. Miller said last week that he had asked PNC Bank to freeze an account linked to the campaign after discovering that Broyhill had written questionable checks to himself.

Broyhill had worked on the campaign books through Sky Blue Strategies, a company founded by Jamie Hahn, 29. Friends say that around the time questions became more and more insistent about the campaign finance account, Broyhill made false claims of having cancer. Members of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, where Broyhill and the Hahns were active, had been asked to pray for him.

Nation Hahn, 27, who also is active in Democratic politics, had been friends with Broyhill since the two were teenagers attending the same Pentecostal church in Lenoir.

A memorial service for Jamie Hahn was held Saturday in Raleigh. A second service occurred Monday afternoon in Orangeburg, S.C., her hometown.

‘Looking for answers’

Mack Paul, the former Wake County Democratic Party chairman, knew Broyhill and considered him to be a kind, gentle man.

“I never would have expected anything like this, and from the way Nation and Jamie took him into their family, I don’t think they did either,” Paul said Saturday. “I think everybody’s looking for answers.”

The allegations of violence, writing inappropriate checks and false cancer claims left many others wondering about the man who often accompanied the Hahns at social gatherings and political events.

The mother of the accused issued a statement acknowledging a similar bewilderment.

“Our family is still reeling from the shock of what happened last Monday,” Kay Broyhill said in the statement issued a week after the stabbing. “Our hearts are broken for the Kirk/Hahn families, and we pray God will bring His peace and comfort to them in their grieving. Jon has always had a sweet, gentle nature and been loved by all who know him. We will continue to love and support him in any way we can.”

Blythe: 919-836-4948

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service