New Jersey murder trial begins for 'Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker'

Anthony Johnson Image
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
New Jersey murder trial begins for 'Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker'
Anthony Johnson reports on the start of the murder trial of 'Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker'.

ELIZABETH, New Jersey (WABC) -- Opening arguments began Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of beating a New Jersey attorney to death in the 2013.

Caleb McGillvary, known as "Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker," had to wait six years for his case to go to court.

In that time, the 30-year-old has changed his appearance by letting his hair grow down his back.

McGillvary had been a viral sensation after he stopped an attack on a utility worker in California, apparently using a hatchet to stop the attack.

But a few months after being an internet hero, McGillvary was arrested in May 2013 because he was the key suspect in the murder of 73-year-old Joseph Galfy.

The crime allegedly took place inside Galfy's home in Clark, New Jersey.

McGillvary claims the two met in a bar in New York City and that Galfy invited him to stay in his home, but he said he was the victim of sexual assault that ended in a confrontation.

He discussed the alleged incident in a Facebook post, saying "What would you do if you wake up with a groggy head, metallic taste in your mouth in a stranger's house?"

McGillvary described the incident in graphic detail to his followers, claiming Galfy had committed a sexual act on him without consent.

His internet following would eventually lead to his arrest, after he asked for service in a Philadelphia Starbucks and was recognized by someone who called police.

In opening statements, both sides agreed to many of the details in the case. But the defense argues it was all in self-defense.


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