Hatchet-wielding hitchhiker is arrested in killing of N.J. lawyer


NEW YORK--This is one bout of fame Caleb “Kai” McGillvary could have done without.

The homeless, hatchet-wielding hitchhiker who enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame in February after using his hatchet to stop a driver who had allegedly run over a Fresno PG&E; worker is under arrest on charges he killed a New Jersey attorney.

The prosecutor in Union County, N.J., Theodore J. Romankow, announced McGillvary’s arrest Thursday evening, just hours after telling reporters that the onetime Internet darling who appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” after the Fresno incident was wanted in the murder of Joseph Galfy Jr., 73.


McGillvary, 24, was arrested at the Greyhound bus terminal in Philadelphia at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday and was being held on $3-million bail. He will be brought to New Jersey soon to face charges.

“I believe that everyone is a little safer with this person off the streets,” Romankow said in a statement.

Galfy was found dead in his Clark, N.J. home on Monday after police were called to check on his welfare. An autopsy said he died of blunt force trauma.

Officials say Galfy and McGillvary, who was known to live off the kindness of strangers he encountered on his travels, met in New York City’s Times Square on Saturday night and went back to Galfy’s home. Galfy, who was clad in his underwear and socks, was killed sometime Sunday, officials said.

Late Sunday, McGillvary turned up at a bistro in Clark, which is about 20 miles west of New York City. “He didn’t fit in. You know, walking in at 10 o’clock at night asking for water,” the bistro’s owner, Michael Savas, told New York’s WABC news.

From New Jersey, McGillvary apparently headed to Philadelphia. Before being arrested, he cut off the shoulder-length wavy locks that helped make him so recognizable. McGillvary also posted a picture of his new, short-haired look on Facebook along with a message that suggested he had been drugged and assaulted.

“What would you do if you woke up with a groggy head, metallic taste in your mouth, in a stranger’s house ... what would you do?” it read in part. Romankow dismissed it as “pretty much self-serving.”

Millions of people came to know McGillvary, whose full name is Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, in February after he gave a vivid, profanity-laced interview to a Fresno television station, KMPH, after hitching a ride with a trucker who ran into two PG&E; workers and then allegedly got out of his vehicle and tried to assault one of them.

McGillvary said he chased the driver, Jett McBride, down and beat him with the back of his hatchet to save the worker. But the driver’s lawyer said the latest developments could alter the outcome of her client’s case.

“I think our case only gets better from here,” attorney Deborah Girard-Gross told the Fresno Bee.

McBride has said that it was McGillvary who yanked the steering wheel toward the PG&E; workers.

“Clearly, there is something about the guy,” Girard-Gross said of McGillvary, who has testified in a Fresno court against McBride, who is charged with attempted murder. “The way he was defensive when he testified led me to believe there was something more underneath the skin than just the laid back, ‘I’m home-free,’ surfer dude.”


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