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‘Hatchet Hitchhiker’ Arrested

A homeless, hatchet-wielding hitchhiker who became an Internet hero earlier this year was arrested Thursday for allegedly beating a New Jersey lawyer to death inside his home.

Kai the hitchhiker
Kai the hitchhiker (Facebook)

Caleb “Kai” McGillvary, who became known as “Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker” after intervening in an attack on a California utility worker, was arrested on a murder warrant at a Philadelphia bus station, according to Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow. He was being held on $3 million bail.

Earlier in the day, Romankow said McGillvary was wanted in the killing of Joseph Galfy Jr., a Clark, N.J. attorney found dead in his home on Monday.

Galfy’s body was found two days after authorities said he met McGillvary in New York City. He was found wearing only his underwear and socks by police who went to his home to check on his well-being.

Statements posted on McGillvary’s Facebook page following the homicide indicated the encounter was sexual in nature, Romankow said, though he declined to go into specific detail.

On his Facebook page, McGillvary’s last post, dated Tuesday, asks “what would you do?” if you awoke in a stranger’s house and found you’d been drugged and sexually assaulted. One commenter suggests hitting him with a hatchet — and McGillvary’s final comment on the post says, “I like your idea.”

It was a hatchet that helped give McGillvary a brief taste of fame in February when he gave a rambling, profanity-laced 5-minute interview to a Fresno, Calif. television station about thwarting and unprovoked attack on a Pacific Gas & Electric employee. The interview went viral, with one version viewed more than 3.9 million times on YouTube. He later appeared on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Kimmel asked him what people were saying to him since the Feb. 1 incident. “Hey, you’re Kai, that dude with the hatchet,” he responded.

Romankow said McGillvary, who said in his TV appearance he prefers to be called “home-free” instead of homeless, traded on his newfound celebrity to meet fans across the country.

Romankow said McGillvary met Galfy on Saturday in Times Square, then spent at least two nights at his home on a cul-de-sac in Clark, 20 miles west of New York.

McGillvary’s movements after that included two trips to meet a fan in Asbury Park, a trip to Philadelphia and another to Glassboro in southern New Jersey. He was considered armed and dangerous before his capture.

McGillvary swiftly gained notoriety after he was interviewed in February after he intervened in an apparently unprovoked attack that led to charges including attempted murder.

McGillvary said he was riding in a car with a man who veered into the worker, got out of the car, walked up to the utility worker and allegedly said, “I am Jesus and I am here to take you home.” McGillvary said he then pulled a hatchet from his backpack and struck the driver in the head several times to subdue him, The Fresno Bee reported.

Last month, the driver entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, the newspaper reported.

McGillvary also goes by the names Kai Lawrence, Caleb Kai Lawrence and Kai Nicodemus, prosecutors said. A reward of $5,000 was offered for information leading to his arrest.

 

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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