It was an absurd tale that simply had to be true: A wandering stranger offers the homeless surfer-dude a ride to Fresno, California. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound driver, who introduced himself as the second coming of Christ and admitted to raping a 14-year-old girl while on a business trip in the British Virgin Islands, said that all Black people should perish before slamming his car into a Black pedestrian in broad daylight, trapping their body against a truck, during the course of their journey. The man gets out of the car, grabs her in a bear hug, and starts to choke her when a bystander runs over to help. However, the hitchhiker disarms him by taking out a hatchet from his rucksack and bashing his head in. . The jovial hatchet man with the Sideshow Bob haircut is interviewed by a KMPH reporter, and the video of his outrageous account (“Smash, smash, SUH-MASH!”) goes viral, garnering millions of views and making him an internet folk hero.
Kai, real name Caleb McGillvary, was known to have wrath outbursts, according to many who knew him. Kai cites another incident where he allegedly saved a woman from an abusive man, bragging about how he “smashed him in the head” and “busted out all his teeth” in the full version of the KMPH video interview that was aired online.
According to his cousin, Jeremy McGillvary Wolfe, “I honestly feel Caleb has mental issues because he seems okay but when it comes to a certain circumstance of pressure, you either become a diamond or you get crushed.” “And Caleb loses in this instance.”
Kai allegedly had a difficult upbringing in Canada, according to Wolfe. He claims that his mother forbade him from engaging in outside play with the other children. and frequently “shut him in a room for quite some time” with curtains drawn. (Kai’s mother makes a feeble retort.) At the age of 13, Kai attempted to ignite a fire in the family home and was consequently placed in foster care.
The incident itself was a separate issue. Locals in Fresno overheard Kai boasting about handing the driver, Jett McBride, a joint laced with several substances but that he “couldn’t handle his s***.” (A toxicology report revealed that McBride only had marijuana in his system.) When Kai and McBride shared a joint inside the car, according to Fresno police officer Jeff Stricker, Kai informed McBride that “they were both ghosts” and that “I think we could drive through that truck right now and nobody would see us.”
Stricker claims that “He’s not completely clean in this situation.”
Three months after the viral incident, in May 2013, 73-year-old attorney Joseph Galfy was discovered dead in his Clark, New Jersey, home. He was dressed simply. He had been hit in the head and was only wearing socks and underwear. Police discovered Kai’s name and phone number on a piece of paper hidden under a laptop, along with a train ticket receipt, which led them to security footage showing Galfy buying a train ticket for Kai at the station before she vanished.
While Kai did acknowledge killing Galfy, his account of the incident portrayed it as an act of self-defense. The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker’s police interrogation footage shows Kai telling a pair of investigators that Galfy picked him up in Times Square, treated him to an Italian dinner, and offered to let him stay at his New Jersey home, which Kai accepted. Kai then claims that Galfy then offered to let him stay at his home, which Kai accepted. Kai claims that when he woke up, he thought he had been drugged and sexually abused while he was still sleeping. Kai wrote the following on his Facebook page on May 14th, 2013:
“What would you do if you woke up in a stranger’s home with a foggy head and a metallic taste in your mouth? walked up to the mirror and noticed that your pants were drenched with blood.
recognizing that you had been drugged, raped, and had their f* load blown in you as you walked to the mirror and noticed come dripping from the side of your face from your mouth? How would you respond?
Kai informed police that instead of taking action, he took a train to Asbury, New Jersey, where he met a fan with the intention of staying with her. Kai called Galfy and requested if he could stay at his house once more when the fan failed to appear. The elderly man was allegedly trying to sexually abuse Kai that night when Kai awoke and killed him by repeatedly hitting him in the skull with his palms and elbows.
Kai’s story had significant gaps, according to the police: Why weren’t there any indications of conflict, such defensive marks? Or, as he had asserted, Kai had no signs of semen? Why was the assault so severe? Why did his memories of his interactions with Galfy seem to be so erratic? Why did Kai embrace and ask to stay with his claimed rapist a second time at the train station? And why did Kai shave his head before leaving the country?
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker could have spent more time dissecting the evidence against Kai and determining whether there was any that supported his claim of self-defense had the episode not ended at 87 minutes (though its brisk run time is a welcome surprise in this era of drawn-out true crime docuseries). It works much better.
It’s much more potent as a criticism of the media’s rapacity and how they treat the homeless and mentally ill.
In 2019, Kai was finally convicted guilty of first-degree murder and given a 57-year term in a maximum-security facility. He must complete at least 85% of his sentence, and his appeal was rejected in August 2021. He is still contesting the judgment.
The judge described Kai as “a powder keg of explosive wrath” at his sentence and said, “You established this public image of a free spirit, but underlying that free spirit the jury saw another side of you: a cold-blooded, calculated, ruthless killer.”