Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
Donna B. Hahn was found slain Thursday; her estranged husband was found dead a short while later.
MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
Headlights of police vehicles illuminate the front yard of the house on Carvins Cove Road where Donna Hahn died Thursday.
Donna B. Hahn
Friday, May 24, 2013
Relatives of the Botetourt County woman who was killed Thursday night said she was trying to pick up her children from her estranged husband when she was shot.
Donna B. Hahn, 43, was found dead on the porch of a house on Carvins Cove Road where James Alan “Jimmy” Hahn was living, according to Botetourt County Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle. The sheriff’s office said in a news release that she suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.
Her cousin Amy Fries and husband Ted Fries, of Chesapeake, said it was the home she had lived in with Jimmy Hahn, 47, before they separated in 2011.
After finding Donna Hahn’s body, the sheriff’s office began searching for Jimmy Hahn as the suspect in his wife’s death, according to Sprinkle. Using a cellphone locator, authorities tracked him to Bedford County. Authorities are not looking for anyone else in connection with the shooting.
Sprinkle said he was found dead on Smith Mountain Lake Parkway shortly before 1 a.m. Friday. The sheriff’s office said he died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The couple’s two young children, both under the age of 10, had been dropped off at another relative’s home before their mother arrived at the house, Ted Fries said.
The sheriff’s office had responded to domestic disputes between the couple in the past, including disputes over custody of the children, Sprinkle said.
He said the sheriff’s office had not found evidence of physical violence during the couple’s previous disputes.
“There was nothing out of place other than last night,” Sprinkle said Friday.
Documents filed in Botetourt County Circuit Court indicate the couple separated in March 2011 and signed a post-nuptial agreement in July 2011.
Later, Ted Fries said, Jimmy Hahn decided to contest the divorce. Botetourt County Circuit Court records show Donna Hahn filed for divorce in September. The next hearing had been set for July 10.
He said Donna Hahn had been struggling to find a way out of an abusive relationship, with tensions escalating as the couple’s scheduled divorce hearing grew nearer.
Ted Fries said Donna Hahn spent almost every weekend in Chesapeake. Even while she was away, he said, she would receive barrages of text messages and emails from Jimmy Hahn and would forward them to her attorney.
According to Ted Fries, Donna Hahn had consulted him multiple times while attempting to obtain a protective order against Jimmy Hahn. Attempts to reach Jimmy Hahn’s family members on Friday were unsuccessful.
Amy Fries said the months since filing for divorce had taken a toll on her cousin. She said Jimmy Hahn called Donna Hahn on “spook” applications that made it appear as though she was receiving a call from someone else.
The prospect of life outside of the marriage, Amy Fries said, was a light at the end of her cousin’s tunnel.
“She was such a bright, fun person with so much to look forward to,” Amy Fries said. “She was looking forward to starting a new chapter in her life.”
Tammy Shilling of Chesapeake met Donna Hahn in high school and they became close friends. Shilling said her friend had been married once before, to Shilling’s brother Chip Peedin, who also lives in Chesapeake. They had one child before divorcing. Shilling said Hahn became a grandmother in December.
Peedin said he and Donna Hahn were married in 1989 for four years , but they remained friends after their divorce.
“She was a great mother,” Peedin said. “Her children, all three of them, were her life. All her kids came first.”
Peedin suspected there were domestic troubles in Hahn’s current marriage. He knew Jimmy Hahn for several years and felt something was wrong.
“There was always something about him that was a little off,” said Peedin. “He never fit on the same plane as the rest of society.”
Peedin said much of Jimmy Hahn’s behavior seemed to be like a “classic stalker.” Peedin had about four different phone numbers to contact Donna Hahn . He said she had to change her number so often to keep Jimmy Hahn from getting it.
“They had everything,” said Peedin. “But it got to the point that his behavior and his apparent paranoia, she couldn’t take it anymore.”
Peedin said her friends and family had told her more than once not to go to his house by herself, but Peedin said she was not the type of person who would let people do things for her, especially when it came to her children .
Shilling said Donna and Jimmy Hahn met in Chesapeake. Botetourt County Circuit Court records indicate they married there in November 1996.
She said the couple moved to Southwest Virginia about 15 years ago.
Ted Fries said he had become increasingly worried about Donna Hahn’s safety in recent weeks. He said she had run out of ideas in her search for help. Jimmy Hahn, he said, was drawing out the divorce proceedings and seeking alterations to the couple’s custody agreement.
Thursday night, Ted Fries said, Jimmy Hahn left the couple’s children with his brother. Donna Hahn came to pick them up at the appointed 8 p.m. end of their Thursday visitation with their father, Ted Fries said.
Ted and Amy Fries lamented that the arrangement left Donna and Jimmy Hahn in contact with one another so frequently. Amy Fries said the abuse Donna suffered over the past few months was unbearable.
“Nobody else should ever have to go through this,” she said.
Researcher Belinda Harris and staff writers Cathy Benson and Tiffany Holland contributed to this report.
Weather JournalEarly mix, then ice storm Sunday