But McGillivary was not always who people wanted him to be. Jump in the car. Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. By then, there were Kai memes and Kai gifs, Kai Facebook fan pages, and a flurry of Twitter accounts like @DogtownKai, @HatchetGuyKai and @NotTheFakeKai. We hope to have this fixed soon. "You need to be very careful, Kai," texted Kim Conley, a Facebook friend who had planned to meet up with McGillivary that weekend. This is the story of ‘Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker’. But he struggled throughout his life, and had been hospitalized more than once for mental health treatment. I thought I was helping do some right,” he says. Given Galfy’s age and health, Ellenport expected the worst when a police officer who responded to the scene emerged from the house looking grim. “Well, it went straight out of Dogtown,” McGillivary said. Joseph Galfy had been found facedown on the floor of his bedroom dressed only in his underwear and socks. Please log in to listen to this story. A post on the Kai the Hitchhiker Legal Support Facebook page indicates an appeal … In California, Jessob Reisbeck e-mailed McGillivary to tell him the interview was going viral, and not to be surprised if people started recognizing him on the street. ‘if I die in Raleigh at least I will die free,’ he sings. The jurors deliberated for two days. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. He may be disingenuous. Galfy was 73 years old, a lawyer and former military man who was well-known and respected in the close-knit community of Clark, New Jersey. A 30-year-old man, who became an internet sensation in 2013 as “Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker,” was found guilty Wednesday in the beating death of a New Jersey attorney. Galfy had heart problems and other health issues. Asked his age, he said, “I can’t call it.” Asked where he was from, he said “Sophia, West Virginia,” with a sly wink that showed it wasn’t true. In 2013, Caleb McGillivary became an unlikely hero and an even unlikelier star. The car was overheating, so they smoked a joint while McGillivary poured water into the radiator until it was ready to go again. Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker went viral in 2013, but now he's back in the news for a much darker reason. He wore a red sweatshirt and carried a hikers’ backpack, and a bandana printed with peace-signs constrained a tangle of sun-bleached hair. “Kai the Hitchhiker” became an internet sensation because of his bravery, and he even made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. “You don’t want to have a home, correct?” Kimmel asked. What do people say to you when they see you? “what would you do if you woke up with a groggy head, metallic taste in your mouth, in a strangers house...,” it read. Problem is, his telling of it is rife with misinformation, misleading data and is missing some incredibly pertinent information that is vital to an understanding of what really happened to Caleb McGillvary, better known to the world as Kai the Hitchhiker. Fame, money, celebrity. The interview went online that night, and Reisbeck awoke the next morning to a flood of emails and texts. The worker who had been crushed was very seriously injured, and McGillivary had hit the attacker repeatedly in the head with a hatchet. Robert Ellenport, the former mayor of Clark and a long-time friend of Galfy’s, arrived to find the bungalow at 46 Starlite Drive dark and quiet. You may already know that the judge banned cameras from the courtroom so they could use all sorts of body language and vocal tones to influence the jury to falsely convict Kai. We break it all down for you! ... Kai believes critical evidence was ignored or destroyed in his case and he’s filing an appeal. "Due to not being able to fully present his case, Kai has been found guilty of murder. “Was I wrong? He said he only fought to get away, and didn’t know Galfy was dead until after he was arrested. Caleb McGillivary, perhaps better known as "Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker" — the backpacking surfer-turned-internet phenomenon — is now a convicted murderer. “Find them as fast as I could and SUH-MASH … them with a hatchet or whatever else I could find! They talked about God and Walmart and numerology, and when they got to the city, McBride gave McGillivary $40 to buy pot. “It is obvious that he plays to the media. He sat beside Kimmel in the passenger seat of a set car, the studio audience roaring with laughter as McGillivary answered questions about his life and philosophies, and described his plans to build a house of willow hoops and moss. There were TV appearances and concerts, women and new friends, the promise of money and a reality show. The post indicated McGillvary's conviction was due to not being able to fully present his case. McGillivary scarfed down a pile of burgers and fries while Reisbeck laid out the offers. The reporter Jessob Reisbeck was among those who saw the post about waking up in a stranger’s house, and he, too, wondered what to make of it. Follow. “Bro, you’re blowing up,” his brother told him. A mentally ill man had driven his car into a group of people while screaming racial slurs. Kai is back in the restricted part of the jail, 23hours locked and he has no access to the outside and gym area. Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted. In their interview for the follow-up story Getting to Know Kai: The Truth Behind The Hero, McGillivary recounted experiences Reisbeck described in the segment as “darker and more gut-wrenching than you can imagine.”. The document, shared at the Kai the Hitchhiker Legal Support Page at Facebook, runs nearly two dozen pages, including the table of contents, list of over 20 precedent cases cited and 6 New Jersey statutes. It didn’t surprise them at all that he’d been helping people. By his late teens, McGillivary spoke three languages and had done some schooling, but he was always drawn back to the road, and his family let him go. “The internet created this whole sensational story, and the real life tragedy got lost,” says Joseph Galfy’s friend, Robert Ellenport. please take time to write him encouraging message, a friendly support and love. “This was a brutal, vicious, senseless crime, and we are pleased that the interests of justice have been served,” prosecutor Monahan said in a new release from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to, To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. He was 54, well over six feet tall and almost 300 pounds, with a thin bow of a mouth and pillowy bags under his eyes. Hank Sims / Wednesday, April 24, 2019 @ 2:39 p.m. / Courts ‘Kai the Homefree Hitchhiker,’ Former Humboldter and Hatchet-Wielding Viral Sensation, Convicted of First-Degree Murder Judge Kirsch agreed McGillivary’s fitness to stand trial was not an issue, saying: “He may be difficult. Jessob Reisbeck was an experienced reporter at KMPH, the local Fox-affiliate TV station in Fresno, but he typically covered sports, and had only recently started filling in on other stories. He was 24 years old. He’d always been remarkably smart and creative, full of energy and fire. She didn’t want to talk about the allegations of abuse he’s levelled against her and her family, except to say they got help as a family to be healthy. You're not going to come into OUR city and THINK you can RUN OVER us with your so-called FAME!””, People responded with emojis that showed tears of sadness and tears of laughter, and gifs of McGillivary smash-smash-smashing. But it was also clear he’d been through something traumatic. Days earlier, McGillivary had written a long and detailed post saying he was sexually and physically abused and locked in a cage as a child, and that his family were members of a cult who believed there was a demon in him. A man who gained Internet fame as "Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker" has been convicted of first-degree murder in the beating death of a New Jersey man almost six years ago. To be watched and liked and shared and commented on. The original video was repeatedly transformed and remixed, including by The Gregory Brothers, best known for their wildly popular "Bed Intruder Song" which set to music an interview with a man describing a home invasion and the attempted rape of his sister. According to Kai… After police interrogated Kai, whose real name is Caleb McGillvary, they set him free. Things hadn’t always been easy between them, but it upset his mother that he seemed to think they didn’t care. He may be crafty, shrewd, manipulative, et cetera, but he is quite clearly competent.”. Kai the hitchhiker. In that time, they came back with one question, about manslaughter. In animated, profanity-laden television interviews, he described how he had pulled a hatchet from his backpack after the driver with whom he had hitched a lift drove over a utility worker and then threatened a woman in Fresno, California. Then he stopped and turned to the camera. But Reisbeck says the producers pushed hard for at least an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, sweetening the deal by promising to put McGillivary in a limo filled with weed and let him drive him around LA doing whatever he wanted. Witnesses described the man, who would later be identified as Jett Simmons McBride, emerging from the car screaming “I’m Jesus Christ!” yelling death threats and racial slurs. Kai the Hitchhiker, Who Rescued Woman in 2013, Is Now a Convicted Killer. Report. Police connected the two men through texts on Galfy’s phone. The video spread quickly across the state and across the country and across the world, until it reached northern Alberta, where it was shared between McGillivary’s siblings and parents initially as just another dispatch from his travels, with notes that said: “If you’re curious what Caleb is up to …”. He looking straight into the lens, his eyes searching and earnest. 8:44. The only known contact was Reisbeck, who had his e-mail address. I don’t have anything.”. McGillvary became a viral star in February 2013 when a reporter in Fresno, Calif., interviewed the “surfer dude-bro” hitchhiker. But when they returned a verdict, it was first-degree murder. At some points, Reisbeck was getting dozens of messages every minute, all from people looking for Kai. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. A post on the Kai the Hitchhiker Legal Support Facebook page indicates an appeal … On Wednesday, McGillivary, 30, a Canadian citizen, was convicted of first degree murder in the killing of New Jersey lawyer Joseph Galfy, who was beaten to death in 2013. This representative photo shows handcuffs at the Commissariat de Police Nationale (National Police Station) in Alfortville, France, Nov. 21, 2016. The song was Wagon Wheel, a story of wandering across America, originally co-written by Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor of the band Old Crow Medicine Show. Prosecutors said McGillvary provided inconsistent accounts to authorities after he was arrested in Philadelphia. He called himself Kai, unless the authorities were asking, in which case he was Edward Carl Nicodemus or whatever other series of monikers might come to mind. Before the verdict, some of the family took surfing lessons at the wave pool in West Edmonton Mall, hoping to feel connected to him by doing something he loved. He’d been brutally beaten, with fractures in his the bones of his face, neck and ribs, and bleeding in his brain. “Shame on you.”. There were donations for bail and a lawyer, pledges of support, hashtags like #FREEKAI and #INNOCENT. As a criminal defense attorney, ... but was prompted to write this blog entry by the case of Kai the Hitchhiker, Caleb McGillvary. Who is Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker? The fatal beating occurred just three months after McGillvary became a viral sensation. They had seen him at a wedding in Red Deer a few months earlier, and it just seemed so Caleb for him to suddenly reappear like this. SHARE. Weeks later, as he drifted from place to place on a wave of viral celebrity, McGillivary got a large tattoo on the right side of his face and neck. They could also convict him of a lesser offence, such as manslaughter, which would recognize an act committed in the heat of passion or after a provocation. But underneath that free spirit, the jury saw another side of you …” Kirsch said, during his sentencing. 2 years ago. On May 30, 2019, Kirsch sentenced McGillivary to 57 years in prison. “Are you the hero?” he asked, reaching out his KMPH News microphone. "This has been nothing but a sham trial, and you have railroaded an innocent man,” he said. Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language. In May of that year, things took a turn for the worse. US News ‘Kai, the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker’ found guilty of murder. He’d hitchhiked through provinces and states, walked over mountains and across borders. In 2013, Caleb McGillivary became an unlikely hero and an even unlikelier star. McGillivary’s lawyer raised questions about the police investigation, including why drinking glasses in the home weren’t examined for drug residue, why blood in a semen swab taken from Galfy’s body wasn’t tested for DNA, and why police didn’t perform a rape kit on McGillivary after his arrest. That hero, known then only as “Kai the Hitchhiker,” became famous for his bizarre, profanity-laced interview with a KMPH reporter when he discussed the details of the incident. He said his name was Kai – “Straight outta Dogtown. At the end of the appearance, Kimmel gave McGillivary a surfboard and a wet suit, and they hugged. McGillivary is now 31. McGillivary implied and, at times, flatly alleged, collusion and corruption among the police, lawyers and judge. He says he now prefers to keep his opinions on the whole situation to himself. “This is about him, and this is about the rest of his life,” she said. The post indicated McGillvary's conviction was due … The idea of vigilante justice has always had some appeal to me. Among the issues sited were “constantly cussing in front of children with no remorse,” “blatant DISRESPECT towards women,” and offending musicians “by lack of respect for time.”, “We hope Kai will help himself and best wishes to him. We will be filing an appeal as soon as possible and will keep you updated," a post on Kai the Hitchhiker Legal Support Page on Facebook read. ‘Kai The Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker’ Hit With 57-Year Sentence For Lawyer’s Murder, Plans Appeal In an exclusive prison interview with Oxygen.com , Caleb McGillivary insisted he was innocent — and said he intends to seek the counsel of Kathleen Zellner, Steven Avery’s attorney. Sometimes, Reisbeck wondered about McGillivary’s mental health. the post asked. Home free. Audio for this article is not available at this time. He held a cigarette, with another tucked up by his right ear. The man known as Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker was arrested for murder, following allegations that he beat a man to death in New Jersey, according to Philadelphia's WPVI-TV.. Not homeless, he would tell people. We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner. McGillivary talked about being sexually assaulted as a teenager. No one can ever take that away from you.”. ELIZABETH, N.J. – A Canadian man who initially gained Internet fame as “Kai, the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker ” has been convicted of the 2013 beating death of a prominent Clark attorney in his home. Ratliff – who also asked, “Dude … Wtf? When the officer tapped him on the shoulder, McGillivary initially thought it was a fan, seeking an autograph. 2 years ago. “You are a powder keg of explosive rage, a cold-blooded, calculated, callous killer.”, He noted McGillivary will be eligible for parole around 2061, when he is about 72 or 73 years old. He hadn’t spoken with any other reporters at the scene, and he had no phone, no address, and hadn’t given out his real name or where he was from. "We sincerely thank the jury for their service and hope that today's verdict brings some measure of solace to Mr. Galfy's family, friends and loved ones.". admin April 24, 2019. They left New York together in Galfy’s car, and headed to his tidy suburban home. Witnesses said McBride then grabbed the woman in a bear hug, and was kissing and hitting her when a young man ran toward them with something that looked like a hammer. A heavy chain bound his ankles. 'Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker' whose crazed TV interview about fending off an attacker went viral is found guilty of murdering a New Jersey attorney after barista who recognized him called cops He was committed to a state mental hospital for a maximum of nine years. I mean, people are recognizing you? “He is so much more than Kai the hatchet hitchhiker,” his sister says. He’d lived alone since the death of the man some knew as his “houseboy and employee,” and others, like Ellenport, understood to be his partner, several years earlier. 52 Once-viral homeless hero 'Kai the Hitchhiker' convicted Homeless drifter Caleb “Kai” McGillvary, 30, who had a brush with Internet fame in 2013 after he saved a person from a would-be attacker while hitchhiking, was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder in the beating death of a 73-year-old man. This petition is a request to the above named media outlets to report the list of evidentiary facts listed below, which are corroborated by forensic reports and transcripts on Kai the Hitchhiker Legal Support Page on Facebook. The interview was long, nearly six minutes, and though McGillivary could be charming and funny, the story itself was not. That conversation, and the other time they’d spent together, made it clear to Reisbeck that McGillivary had some “dark places,” and a particular animosity for people who take advantage of others. Kirsch also denied McGillivary’s request to fire his lawyer and represent himself. The interview video which gave McGillvary the internet fame was viewed millions of times on YouTube and he also appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Reisbeck knew if someone got into McGillivary’s space or if he even felt they overstepped, things could go very badly. As a teenager, he had been devastated by a serious sexual assault he suffered while hitchhiking through B.C., for which a man was charged but not convicted. If things had gone differently, he said he could have imagined adopting him like a son. This page was created at Kai's request so that his supporters have a space to support him. We break it all down for you! “Even if you make mistakes, you lovable. McGillivary left Galfy’s house the next morning, then returned again that night. He’d gone back at times, back to his family, back to school or work, but that kind of routine never suited him for long, and by the early months of 2013, he was drifting once again. But the community supporting McGillivary was knotted with infighting. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy returned to Radio 4 last Tuesday and started this train of thought. Instead, three months later, the Alberta man was facing life in prison for a murder he says was self-defence. The things that made him stand out in the viral news video – his unpredictability, his irreverence, his audacity – could be maddening in real life. It seemed to Kai that the sealing of his brief was the appellate … Prosecutors in Union Country, New Jersey said McGillvary, 30, first met Joseph Galfy, 73, in New York City's Times Square, less than two days before Galfy was found dead in his home. When Reisbeck asked if he had a last name, Kai smiled and said, “No, bro. On Tuesday, May 14, 2013, about 3 ½ months after the viral video, a disquieting post appeared on McGillivary’s personal Facebook page, seemingly written by him. McGillivary sometimes talked about being a vigilante and going after pedophiles. ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A man who gained Internet fame as "Kai, the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker" says he's not guilty of a murder charge. Once it is filed, the prosecutor will file a brief in response. “You look lost,” McGillivary would remember him saying. 38 en parlent. McGillvary was in jail since the attack and was awaiting trial since he was arrested in New Jersey in 2013, according to NJ.com. Cratemutter. He could be extremely kind and generous, and a moment later, equally crude and profane. McGillvary was in jail since the attack and was awaiting trial since he was arrested in New Jersey in 2013, according to NJ.com. UPDATE: ‘Kai the Hitchhiker’ reaches out online for a 'real lawyer’ to handle appeal of his murder conviction. McGillivary talks to the media as he is taken by Union County sheriff's officers to jail in Elizabeth, N.J., on May 30, 2013. One website held a contest to identify the images, describing it as “a swirling miasma of mystical symbolism perfectly befitting a man of Kai’s guru-like qualities.”, But public attention and interest was already starting to turn. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests. He could face life in prison when he is sentenced June 13. This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy. He said McBride admitted to once raping a girl in the Virgin Islands, and he showed deep scars on his knuckles he said were from another time he’d beaten someone while trying to protect a woman. He knew McGillivary had a history of sexual abuse and trauma. 'Kai the Hitchhiker' Arrested for Murder. “I found a good person who put me up for the night.". Where is the line between uninhibited and unbalanced? Courtesy of Damen Tesch and Second Sight Tattoo/Handout. “That’s something I wish I could scream at the world sometimes.”. The public’s attention waned as time stretched on in the years before trial, and others drifted away as the evidence started to come out. Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker had been born. Watch: McGillivary’s Fox interview gets a musical auto-tune treatment. (He had.). Whenever McGillivary got close to mentioning the viral video or obliquely referenced his Internet fame during the trial, Kirsch immediately shut it down. Duration: 03:18 1/3/2020. At one point in the interview, he said, “I don’t have any family. “I’m one of the heroes,” McGillivary said. When jurors were chosen, they’d been polled about their taste in television shows, and the judge warned real life cases often fit no such easy narratives. Homeless drifter Caleb “Kai” McGillvary was convicted of first-degree murder for killing a 73-year-old Joseph Galfy. SHARE. He spent the past year working to overturn both his conviction and sentence, with the help of a paralegal who has been volunteering her services after coming across his viral video online. A psychological report filed with the court described McGillivary displaying “serious anti-social behavior” from the time he was a toddler, and said he admitted to killing hamsters and trying to set the family home on fire as a child. As his younger sister would say, “One of the things with loving a free spirit is understanding that you’ve got to let them be a free spirit.”. It was a strange thing to go viral. Prosecutors in Union Country, New Jersey said McGillvary, 30, first met Joseph Galfy, 73, in New York City's Times Square, less than two days before Galfy was found dead in his home. It suddenly felt like everyone in the world was trying to get to Kai. He moved as the mood took him, sleeping under bridges and in vans and on boats and couches, working when he had to, finding friends and parties and beaches to surf along the way. He’s obsessed with it,” the judge said in court. McBride had thrown away his cellphone and left his dog, Zoe, on the side of the road so neither could be used to trace him. Sometimes, his supporters post a note or recording online, a message from Kai for anyone who might still be out there, listening. LESSON: DISRESPECT and UN APPRECIATION WILL GET YOU NOWHERE! He noted that the prosecutor repeatedly referred to the victim casually as “Joe,” as though they were friends. There was a petition to Netflix to make a documentary, in the hopes that more publicity on the case will help. “And that’s really the thing that I focus on the most.”. Maybe it was his colourful language or his wild and carefree vibe, or the idea of such an unlikely hero in such a troubled time. K-A-I” – but offered little else. Caleb McGillvary, known as Kai the Hitchhiker, became an internet hero in February with interviews explaining how he used a hatchet to stop an attacker. Watch: McGillivary joins TV host Jimmy Kimmel for a sketch showing the two of them behind the dashboard of a car. He says his friend’s death did not get the attention it deserved, because of the broader spectacle. There is McGillivary on a talk show, talking about building a house of branches. Online, pieces of the story remain frozen in time, moments preserved and ready to be played and replayed. “Which, by complete coincidence is still younger than Mr. Galfy was when you murdered him.”, Given a chance to speak, McGillivary said he had been wrongfully convicted by a system both corrupt and stacked against him. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter . Caleb “Kai” McGillvary, 24, is taken by Union County sheriff’s officers to jail in Elizabeth, N.J., Thursday, May 30, 2013. Everything was fine between them on the way to Fresno. “How many nights should I offer my couch to Kai for?” one man asked in a Facebook poll. By the end of March, a Facebook page that had been formed in his honour and hosting concerts and events with him in Fresno was shutting down, a terse message announcing “WE CANNOT VOUCH FOR KAI’S INTEGRITY TOWARDS PEOPLE ANYMORE.”, “Kai has worn out his welcome in Fresno to people's kind hearts and good graces,” one of the page’s administrators wrote.

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