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From Hero to Convicted Killer: The Cautionary Tale of Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker

What Happened to Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker? Have you heard of Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker?

This unusual personality became an overnight sensation after throwing his hatchet at a driver who had deliberately struck a Pacific Gas and Electric worker with his car in February 2013. His interview about the incident went viral on YouTube, garnering millions of views.

But what happened to him after that?

Background and Viral Video

Kai, whose real name is Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, was a hitchhiker who traveled around the United States, embracing an idealistic lifestyle. He became known for his friendly demeanor, his free-spirited nature, and his impressive stories about his travels.

In May 2013, a video of Kai went viral after he saved a woman from a crazed attacker in Fresno, California. But it was his interview about the hatchet incident, which he described in graphic detail and with a colorful vocabulary, that propelled him to internet stardom.

In the interview, Kai claimed that he was a passenger in a car driven by a man who suddenly went berserk and drove into the PG&E worker before attempting to attack Kai. In response, Kai grabbed his hatchet and struck the driver on the head, saving himself and others.

His way of recounting the incident, filled with expressions like “smash, smash, suh-MASH!” and “f*****g hero,” made him a hero in the eyes of many.

Murder Charges and Trial

However, Kai’s fame would be short-lived. On May 14, 2013, he was arrested in Philadelphia and charged with the murder of Joseph Galfy, a 73-year-old lawyer whom Kai had met while hitchhiking.

Galfy had been found dead in his home the previous day, with blunt force trauma to the head. According to prosecutors, Kai had stayed overnight at Galfy’s house, and the two men had engaged in sexual activity before Kai attacked Galfy and fled the scene.

At Kai’s trial in May 2019, the prosecution argued that Kai had brutally killed Galfy after becoming upset over a sexual encounter that didn’t go as planned. The defense claimed that Kai had acted in self-defense, as he believed that Galfy had drugged and sexually assaulted him.

Kai himself admitted to striking Galfy with a blunt object but claimed that he had acted in a dissociative state and couldn’t remember the details of the incident.

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker Trial Details

The trial lasted for three weeks and featured dramatic testimony from both the prosecution and the defense. Ultimately, the jury found Kai guilty of first-degree murder, rejecting his claims of self-defense and dissociation.

In February 2020, he was sentenced to 57 years in prison, with eligibility for parole after 85% of the sentence had been served. Kai’s attorneys have filed an appeal, arguing that the trial was unfair and that his constitutional rights were violated.

They claim that the judge improperly limited their ability to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence, and that the prosecution engaged in misconduct by unfairly attacking Kai’s character. They are also arguing that Kai’s sentence was excessive, given his history of mental health issues and trauma.


In conclusion, Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker’s story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of internet fame and the unexpected turns that life can take. Despite his quirky persona and his heroic acts, he was unable to escape the consequences of his actions and now faces a long prison sentence.

The outcome of his appeal remains to be seen, but his case serves as a reminder that justice is not always swift or easy. Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker’s story was so striking that it was turned into a documentary for Netflix.

The true crime documentary, titled “Kai: A True Story,” was released on the streaming platform in June 2021. The film explores Kai’s life as a nomad and overnight internet celebrity, as well as his involvement in the murder of Joseph Galfy.

Documentary Details and Release

Directed by Colette Camden, “Kai: A True Story” follows the events that led to Kai’s rise to fame and his subsequent fall from grace. The documentary features interviews with witnesses and experts, including former public defender Joseph Krakora, who represented Kai during his trial.

The documentary was released on June 22, 2021, and is available for streaming on Netflix. The film’s trailer promises an in-depth exploration of Kai’s life and a critical examination of his actions.

Content and Cast

“Kai: A True Story” is a mixture of documentary interviews, footage of Kai’s interviews and viral video appearances, and reenactments of key events in his life. The film is narrated by Kai himself, who offers his perspective on the events that unfolded.

The documentary delves into Kai’s background and his journey as a nomad, as well as his first encounters with fame. Throughout the film, Kai’s personality is vividly portrayed, with his unique outlook on life and colorful language shining through in his interviews.

However, the documentary’s focus on Kai’s life and personality is only part of the story. “Kai: A True Story” also explores the murder of Joseph Galfy and Kai’s involvement in the crime.

The film features interviews with witnesses and key players in the investigation and trial, as well as reenactments of the events leading up to and following the murder. The documentary’s cast is made up of a mix of experts and witnesses, many of whom offer their own view of the events that took place.

The film includes interviews with Kai’s former friend and fellow hitchhiker, Jake McNab, who describes his relationship with Kai and his reaction to the murder charges.

Potential Offensiveness

One potential issue with “Kai: A True Story” is the use of offensive language and graphic descriptions of violence. Kai is known for his profanity-laced interviews, and the documentary does not shy away from including this language in the film.

Additionally, the reenactments of the murder and its aftermath are graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers. The documentary is likely geared towards a more mature audience, and viewers should be prepared for the potentially offensive content within the film.


“Kai: A True Story” offers a gripping look into the life of Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker and his involvement in a shocking crime. The documentary’s mix of documentary interviews, reenactments, and footage of Kai’s interviews and appearances helps to paint a vivid picture of his life and personality.

While the use of offensive language and graphic violence may be off-putting to some, the documentary offers a good balance of perspective and insight into the events that took place. Overall, “Kai: A True Story” is an engaging and informative look at one of the most unusual figures in recent true crime history.

The true story of Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker has captivated the interest of many due to his unusual persona and viral interviews. However, his story took a dark turn when he was convicted of the murder of Joseph Galfy.

Netflix’s true-crime documentary “Kai: A True Story” provides an in-depth exploration of his life, rise to fame, and involvement in the crime. While the documentary includes potentially offensive content, it offers a balanced perspective on the events that occurred.

Overall, Kai’s story is a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of internet fame and the consequences of our actions.

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