Opening statements in the North Carolina trial of Jonathan Broyhill focused on the suspect’s mental state, with defense attorneys arguing Broyhill was only interested in killing himself, not his best friend’s wife, political strategist Jamie Hahn in April 2013.
“Something snapped ... This case is a tragedy,” defense attorney Caroline Elliot told jurors Wednesday. “It is a tragedy commuted by a sick person who was ready to end his own life. There was never any premeditation,” defense attorney Caroline Elliot told jurors Wednesday.
Hahn died after being stabbed 24 times inside her Raleigh home.
“Your hearts will break. She was young; 29,” prosecutor Doug Fawcett said Wednesday in court.
Hahn ran a successful political consulting company, working with former U.S. Congressman Brad Miller, D-N.C. Hahn hired Broyhill, her husband Nation’s best man at their wedding, to do accounting work.
But prosecutors say the relationship reportedly soured when Broyhill allegedly embezzled almost $50,000 from a campaign fund. The deadly attack happened after Hahn started asking questions about the financial irregularities.
Broyhill’s lawyers admitted in court Wednesday that their client stabbed Hahn, but they argue the stabbing wasn’t premeditated, that the only person he planned to injure was himself. The defense referred to a series of bizarre lies Broyhill told in the run-up to the murder – such as having MS or pancreatic cancer – that they say reflect Broyhill’s unraveling mental state.
“John was determined to take his own life,” Elliot said. “He had no motive to kill those he loved.”
The trial is expected to take up to three weeks.
Broyhill faces one charge of first-degree murder, two charges of attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury.