Nation Hahn paced back and forth near his wife, Jamie Hahn, as she lay bleeding in a neighbor’s yard after being stabbed inside her home.
He would pace, kneel down beside her, tell her he loved her, that they had many more anniversary vacations to take together, then stand up, tugging at his hair, screaming.
That was the scene described by Angela Cabe, one of the neighbors who rushed from their homes to aid Jamie and Nation Hahn after the two escaped a frenzied knife attack.
The tissues were out in the courtroom gallery on Thursday during the second day of testimony in the trial of Jonathan Broyhill.
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Broyhill, 33, is accused of killing Jamie Hahn and attempting to kill Nation Hahn on April 22, 2013, in their North Raleigh home.
The defense team concedes that Broyhill held the knife that killed Jamie Hahn and injured Nation Hahn, his good friend from childhood. They have argued, though, that Broyhill was in such a dark state of mind, his world crumbling around him, that he did not take an 8-inch kitchen knife to the Hahns’ home on that April afternoon with intentions of harming anyone but himself.
Cabe was called to the witness stand on Thursday morning after a debt collector for Time Warner Cable recalled several phone conversations he had with Hahn about an unpaid bill associated with former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller’s campaign account.
Broyhill had worked for Jamie Hahn’s political strategy and fundraising company and embezzled $46,500 from a bank account for Miller’s campaign, investigators said.
Questions about what happened to the money had escalated through the early part of 2013, and by April, Jamie Hahn wanted answers.
The debt collector for the cable company recalled several phone calls with Jamie Hahn. He described her as genuine and honest.
As her voice sounded in the courtroom on the recordings of those calls played by prosecutors, Nation Hahn and others in his family reached for tissues.
They did again as Cabe recounted hearing a faint call of “Help, help” outside her house, and then seeing the bloody sight.
Jamie Hahn collapsed in front of her neighbors. They propped her feet on a bag of leaves to keep blood flowing toward her head and wrapped a towel around her wounded abdomen.
Investigators contend Jamie Hahn, who died two days later, was stabbed more than a dozen times.
Nation Hahn had defensive wounds on his hands.
Jamie Hahn told her husband, the man with whom she had just celebrated her fourth wedding anniversary, that she loved him.
He responded with “I love you,” over and over, neighbors said.
Angela Cabe recalled telling her neighbor, a woman she had never met or seen before that day, to hang on, to “keep breathing.”
Jamie Hahn’s breaths were getting shallower and shallower, Cabe recalled.
“She said, ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,’” Cabe testified on Thursday.
Then, Cabe said, “a glazed look” fell over Jamie Hahn’s face.
Emergency dispatchers had been called amid the chaos. Cabe recalled talking with one who asked her to find out if anyone knew who and where the suspect was.
Nation Hahn called out, Cabe said.
“He said, ‘Yeah, Jon Broyhill,’” Cabe recalled.
Joseph Arbour, a public defender representing Broyhill, pointed out that Nation Hahn also said, “He’s my best friend.”
Julie Harrell, a neighbor with nursing experience, recalled Nation Hahn asking his wife, as she was on the ground, struggling against her wounds: “Did you confront him?”
Jamie Hahn became visibly more agitated then, Harrell said, and she told her husband and others to hold Nation Hahn back, to calm him down.
The trial is expected to last several weeks. Nation Hahn is expected to testify.