The murder of a young North Carolina political consultant has shaken her colleagues and left many wondering what could have led to the attack that also wounded her husband.
Jameson “Jamie” Hahn, who ran Sky Blue Strategies, died early Wednesday from stab wounds sustained in an attack Monday night. Police told the News & Observer the suspect is Jonathan Broyhill, a 31-year-old employee of Sky Blue. He’s accused of stabbing Hahn, 29, and her husband, Nation, in their North Raleigh home.
Members of the state’s consulting community say they're heartbroken and call Hahn's death a tragedy. Broyhill acted as best man for Nation Hahn at the couple’s wedding in 2009. The three friends often spent time together outside of work and had a routine Monday night dinner at the Hahn's home, which was where the attack took place.
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” Gary Pearce, a veteran North Carolina Democratic consultant, tells C&E. “These are two fine young people at the beginning of their lives and one of them is gone and one of them is grievously hurt.”
Brad Crone, founder of Campaign Connections, says Jamie Hahn had raised money for some of his clients in state House races.
“You see the promise of such a vivacious young consultant and how that’s going to be missed. It’s just devastating,” he says. “They just worked day and night to build a firm; had a great reputation and did great work.”
Stories are circulating in the community about Broyhill’s mental state – he falsely claimed to have cancer -- but the attack still seems inexplicable, says Crone. “The fact that you can't explain and it’s hard to accept. It makes it worrisome for me. They were such good people.”
Former Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), a client of Hahn’s, speculated that she had confronted Broyhill about money that was missing from the congressman's campaign account.
“It’s probably the case that Jamie was asking questions on behalf of the campaign about campaign finances. I think it’s bound to be part of the investigation of Jon’s motive," Miller, who didn't run for reelection in 2012, told the News & Observer.
Jaimey Sexton, a principal at Chicago-based Sexton Group, says that Hahn will be remember for her work outside of campaigns, too. Her firm helped many non-profits raise money and both her and Nation were active in the Young Democrats of America.
“These are the people that ought to be running our party,” says Sexton, who was formerly based in the state and worked with the Hahns. “I just remember them being young and idealistic with so much energy and so positive. The political consulting business is built on cynicism and they just didn’t have that.”
The attack allegedly occurred while Nation Hahn was upstairs. He heard his wife's screams, ran to help and was injured trying to protect her. Jamie Hahn was able to flee the home and was found by a female neighbor who made a frantic call to 911.
Broyhill suffered self-inflicted wounds but was taken into custody by police. He’s been charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. Those charges are expected to be ungraded to murder in light of Hahn’s death.
An online effort is underway to help raise money to cover Nation Hahn’s medical bills. A visitation is set for 6-8 p.m, April 26 at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on April 27, also at Pullen Memorial.