'Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker' arrested in Phila.

Caleb "Kai' Lawrence McGillvary was arrested in Philadelphia in the death of a N.J. lawyer. He earlier boarded a PATCO train in Haddonfield. AP
Caleb "Kai' Lawrence McGillvary was arrested in Philadelphia in the death of a N.J. lawyer. He earlier boarded a PATCO train in Haddonfield. AP
Posted: May 17, 2013

Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, a hitchhiker and drifter who became a cyber-culture celebrity, was arrested at the Philadelphia Greyhound bus terminal late Thursday in the slaying of a North Jersey lawyer, authorities said.

The arrest followed the discovery Monday of the body of Joseph Galfy Jr., 73, in his home in Clark. Galfy, dressed only in underwear and socks, was found in his bed, apparently beaten to death, the Union County Prosecutor's Office said. An autopsy found he died of blunt force trauma.

The Prosecutor's Office said the men apparently met last weekend in Manhattan and went to Galfy's house.

McGillvary, 24, known on YouTube and Facebook as "Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker," had last been seen Tuesday boarding a Philadelphia-bound PATCO train in Haddonfield.

Two "fans" who recognized him from the Internet gave him a ride from Glassboro to the station, the Prosecutor's Office said. The two told investigators they believed McGillvary was headed for Georgia.

McGillvary met Galfy in Times Square on Saturday. The men are believed to have had a sexual encounter over the weekend, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

A Facebook fan page for Caleb Kai Lawrence, one of McGillvary's aliases, shared a post he purportedly wrote on his personal Facebook page asking "what would you do" upon waking up groggy and "realizing that someone had drugged [and] raped ... you?"

Investigators believe the words were written by McGillvary, according to the Prosecutor's Office, which declined further comment.

McGillvary rose to Internet fame in February when he told a television interviewer for a Fresno, Calif., station that he had thwarted an attack on a woman by hitting her assailant in the head with a hatchet three times - "Smash, smash, suh-mash!"

He told the interviewer that he had hitched a ride with the assailant, who, after telling McGillvary that years before he had raped a girl in the Virgin Islands, started saying he was Jesus and intentionally ran his car into a utility worker. McGillvary said he attacked the driver after he started to assault a woman who came to the worker's aid.

During the interview, which was posted on YouTube and has had nearly 3.7 million views, he did not give his age. "I can't call it," he said, shrugging.

He said his name was Kai, "straight out of Dogtown." Asked if he had a last name, he laughed and said, "No, bro, I don't have anything."

He said he was from Sophia, W. Va., but sounded like he had a touch of a Canadian accent. He also described previously "smashing" a man in the head after he said he saw him beating a woman in an orchard.

Shortly afterward, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and described himself as "home-free" as opposed to homeless. He was viewed by some in cyberspace as a hero.

After the alleged assault on Galfy, McGillvary was believed to have cut his hair to change his appearance. Authorities said he was thought to be armed and dangerous. He also goes by the names Kai Lawrence and Kai Nicodemus.


Contact Rita Giordano at 856-779-3893, rgiordano@phillynews.com or on Twitter @ritagiordano.

Inquirer staff writer Jonathan Lai contributed to this article.

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