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Memorial set for Saturday

By Anne Blythe and Thomasi McDonald
ablythe@newsobserver.com, tmcdonald@newsobserver.com

RALEIGH - A memorial service has been set for Saturday for Jamie Kirk Hahn, 29, the political strategist who died early Wednesday from injuries suffered Monday in a stabbing attack at her North Raleigh home.

“Jamie lost her struggle to live this morning. We lost a beautiful and loving wife, daughter and friend. We all lost a pure and brave spirit,” her family said in a statement issued early Wednesday.

Her husband, Nation Hahn, 27, also was stabbed. He has been released from WakeMed Hospital after treatment for his injuries.

Jonathan Broyhill, 31, a friend of the couple and best man at their 2009 wedding, has been arrested. He remains in WakeMed with “self-inflicted injuries,” said Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue.

Broyhill had been charged with attempted murder. Sughrue said Wednesday the department would seek to have that charge withdrawn and “will present probable cause for an arrest warrant charging him with murder.”

On Wednesday morning, Nation Hahn wrote about his wife in several posts on Twitter.

“I have no idea what I am going to do without @jamiehahn. She was my center, my rock and my soulmate,” he wrote.

Later, he wrote, “It is almost unfathomable that the sun can shine without @jamiehahn here. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you daily.”

Hahn tweeted that a memorial service for his wife will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh.

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 horrific turn Monday.

‘Her light will shine’

In its statement Wednesday, the family said Jamie Hahn “believed in justice, opportunity and fairness for all. She loved politics and she saw the Democratic Party as the path to realize her ideals.

“She had a gift for bringing us together – black and white, young and old, gay and straight. She challenged us to work together for a better world. Her light will shine on in all of us who knew and loved her.”

Nation Hahn had 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 Pullen Memorial, where all three were active.

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

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.

Gary Pearce, a Democratic strategist and friend of the Hahns, posted on his Talking About Politics blog on Wednesday, “Jamie and Nation had a unique quality that people responded to. They liked people. Their home was a familiar gathering place. People had fun.”

“Jamie liked politics, and she was good at it. She exemplified all that is good in politics,” Pearce wrote. “Yesterday, the Wake County Republican Party posted a tribute to them both. That was a class act. This is one of those times when what unites us as people is so much bigger than what divides us in politics.”

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.

Police collected a knife and a button from the home, a search warrant said.

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

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.

‘Pray for Jamie’

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.

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.

The Rev. Nancy Petty, pastor at Pullen Memorial, 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 McDonald: 919-829-4532
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