'Hatchet hitcher' who went viral is charged with murder
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Friday 17 May 2013
An internet celebrity known as “Kai the hatchet-wielding hitcher” has been charged with murder, after he allegedly bludgeoned a 73-year-old man to death.
Caleb “Kai” McGillivray, 24, is accused of killing lawyer Joseph Galfy at Galfy’s home in Clark, New Jersey, on Sunday. An autopsy determined he had died due to blunt force trauma. The two men had been seen together in and around New York in the days leading up to his death. McGillivray was arrested at a bus station in Philadelphia on Thursday and charged with the murder.
McGillivray became a viral video sensation in February, after he thwarted a crazed attacker using the hatchet he carried in his backpack. In a widely seen interview with a local news station, he said he had been hitch-hiking through Fresno, California, when the driver slammed his vehicle into an African-American utility worker, leapt from the car and began attacking a bystander, yelling racist insults and claiming repeatedly that he was Jesus Christ. McGillivray spoke in an animated fashion, saying how he had struck the man with his hatchet – “Smash, Smash, Suh-Mash!” – thus ending the attack. Remarkably, no one was seriously injured.
McGillivray referred to himself not as homeless, but as “home-free”. In a second interview with the same news station, KMPH, he described a difficult childhood, overshadowed by his parents’ divorce and intimations of child abuse.
McGillivray and Galfy reportedly met in New York’s Times Square last week and later retired to Galfy’s house in Clark, some 25 milesaway. Their rendezvous lasted around 24 hours, before Galfy’s death on Sunday evening, following what authorities described as a “sexual tryst”. The most recent status update on a Facebook account purporting to belong to McGillivray alleges he awoke to discover that he had been drugged and raped. “What would you do?” he asked. One of his friends suggested he hit the alleged rapist with a hatchet. McGillivray replied, “I like your idea”.
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