"Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker" Back in NJ to Face Murder Charge

Caleb Lawrence McGillvary is accused of beating a lawyer to death in New Jersey

By Pat Battle
|  Thursday, May 30, 2013  |  Updated 12:36 PM CDT
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Internet Sensation becomes Murder Suspect

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The internet celebrity known as "Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker" has returned to New Jersey to face a murder charge in the death of a lawyer, authorities said.

Handcuffed in a t-shirt and pants and sporting a short haircut, Caleb "Kai" McGillvary was escorted by a swarm of police officers into the Union County jail in Elizabeth, where he will await a court appearance.

The 24-year-old McGillvary is charged with beating 73-year-old lawyer Joseph Galfy to death after they met in New York City earlier this month. Galfy's partially clad body was found in his Clark, N.J., home two days later. McGillvary was arrested in Philadelphia May 16 and waived extradition.

Asked by reporters upon his return to New Jersey if he killed Galfy in self defense, McGillvary, responded, "I don't know, what do you think?"

McGillvary gained online fame in February after intervening in attack on utility worker in Fresno, Calif. He gave an interview to a local television station describing how he used a hatchet to fend off the attacker. 

The clip has been viewed millions of times on YouTube and led to an appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" for McGillvary.

Authorities allege McGillvary and Galfy met in Times Square the weekend of May 11. They then drove to Galfy's home where McGillvary spent at least one night and beat Galfy to death, according to authorities.

Galfy was a well-respected land-use attorney in Union County, N.J. A friend said he was a sports enthusiast who loved to travel. He lived alone.

McGillvary has described himself as "home free" rather than homeless, and said he is from Sophia, W. Va. He claimed that he is "already dead" to anyone he grew up with.

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