PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man who gained Internet fame as “Kai, the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” will be returning to New Jersey to face a murder charge in the death of a lawyer.
Caleb “Kai” McGillivary waived extradition Monday in a brief hearing in Philadelphia, where he was arrested earlier this month after being spotted in a Starbucks.
The 24-year-old McGillivary is charged with killing 73-year-old Joseph Galfy Jr. after the pair met in New York City. Authorities say Galfy was found beaten to death in his bedroom in Clark, N.J.
McGillivary became a minor Internet celebrity in February after intervening in an attack on a 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 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” for McGillivary.
Authorities allege McGillivary and Galfy met in Times Square the weekend of May 11. They then drove to Galfy’s home where McGillivary spent at least one night and beat Galfy to death, according to authorities.
Galfy, 73, 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.
McGillivary 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.
But in an interview with The Associated Press, McGillivary’s father, Gil McGillivary, said his son was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and has a family that is concerned about his well-being.
Gil McGillivary lives in Hawkesbury, Ontario and said he had only sporadic contact with his son. He lost custody of Caleb shortly after he and his wife divorced. The boy was 8 at the time.
Gil McGillivary said he last saw his son in December 2010. He said he emailed Caleb in February after learning his son went by Kai, but Caleb wrote back and accused his father of getting in touch to capitalize on his son’s fame.
Gil McGillivary said he stands by his son.