'Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker' Convicted of First-Degree Murder in NJ Man's 2013 Beating Death - NBC New York

Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

'Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker' Convicted of First-Degree Murder in NJ Man's 2013 Beating Death

Caleb "Kai" McGillvary gained some online fame after intervening in an assault on a California utility worker in which he described using a hatchet to fend off a further attack

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    What to Know

    • A man who gained Internet fame as "Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker" has been convicted of first-degree murder in a man's 2013 death

    • Caleb "Kai" McGillvary was accused of killing 74-year-old lawyer Joseph Galfy Jr., whose body was found in his Clark, New Jersey home

    • McGillvary gained online fame after intervening in an assault on a California utility worker, using a hatchet to fend off further attac

    A man who gained Internet fame as "Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker" has been convicted of first-degree murder in the beating death of an elderly New Jersey man, prosecutors say. 

    Caleb "Kai" McGillvary, 30, was accused of killing 74-year-old lawyer Joseph Galfy Jr., whose body was found on May 13, 2013 in his Clark home.

    Authorities say McGillvary and Galfy met in New York City and McGillvary stayed at Galfy's home.

    When police found Galfy's body, he had "numerous serious blunt-force injuries to his face, head, neck, chest, and arms, including three skull fractures, four broken ribs, and severe contusions, abrasions, and bleeding – injuries that contradicted McGillvary’s self-defense claim," the Union County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday. 

    "Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker" Turned in by Barista: Police

    [NY] "Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker" Turned in by Barista: Police
    Authorities say the internet celebrity known as "Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker" was turned in to police by a coffee barista who recognized him. Pat Battle reports.
    (Published Friday, May 17, 2013)

    McGillvary was arrested in Philadelphia days later after a barista at a coffee shop recognized him and called police, according to prosecutors. 

    "This was a brutal, vicious, senseless crime, and we are pleased that the interests of justice have been served," Acting Prosecutor Michael Monahan said in a statement. 

    The Canadian McGillvary gained some online fame after intervening in a 2012 assault on a California utility worker in which he described using a hatchet to fend off a further attack.

    He's expected to be sentenced on June 13 and could face up to life in prison. 

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