Criminal Justice

Hitchhiking YouTube star arrested in homicide of NJ attorney

A man well-known on the Web as “Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker” has been arrested in Philadelphia and charged in the homicide of Joseph Galfy Jr., a 73-year-old New Jersey lawyer who was found dead at his home in Clark earlier this week.

Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, 24, was arrested at a bus terminal early Thursday evening, WPVI reported.

A article includes a photo of the suspect that shows a distinctive tattoo he has on his neck. McGillvary reportedly calls himself “homefree” instead of homeless, and relies on the kindness of strangers for food and shelter.

McGillvary leapt to Internet fame several months ago after he was credited in a Fresno Bee report with having used a hatchet he had in his backpack to stop a vicious California attack after a man from whom McGillvary had accepted a ride attacked an individual unknown to McGillvary. The attacker, who was knocked out by McGillvary, was criminally charged (and has since pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity), and McGillvary wound up doing a round of media interviews, according to CBS New York and the Daily Record.

One went viral on YouTube, with nearly 4 million hits.

Investigators say McGillvary and Galfy met in Times Square in New York City last weekend, then went to Galfy’s home in Clark, N.J., before the attorney drove McGillvary to a train station Sunday morning and the younger man left for Asbury Park, N.J. Later that day, after exchanging text messages, McGillvary returned, was picked up by Galfy at the station and they went back to the lawyer’s home.

Galfy’s body. was discovered there on Monday, after he failed to show up for work at Kochanski, Baron and Galfy in Rahway.

Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow said the lawyer was clad only in socks and underwear and had been severely beaten, CBS New York reports. He was determined to have died of blunt force trauma.

McGillvary reportedly cut his trademark long hair at some point, but continued to rely on fans for help this past week and their cooperation apparently helped authorities track him down.

“I am grateful for the overwhelming response and dedicated effort by the public and law enforcement that led to this arrest,” said Romankow in a statement provided to “I believe that everyone is a little safer with this person off the streets.”

Authorities said violence occurred after Galfy and McGillvary had a sexual encounter, the Star-Ledger reports.

In a Tuesday post on Facebook, under the name Caleb Kai Lawrence Yodhehwawheh, McGillvary suggested that he have have been drugged and sexually assaulted, but does not say when, where or by whom.

It states in part: “what would you do if you woke up with a groggy head, metallic taste in your mouth, in a strangers house…and started wretching, realizing that someone had drugged (and) raped…you? what would you do?”

Romankow called the post “pretty much self-serving,” the Star-Ledger reports.

See also “Death of New Jersey lawyer is ruled a homicide”

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