Homeless Hero ‘Kai The Hitchhiker’ Convicted Of Murder, Faces Life In Prison

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A homeless man, who once had a brush with internet fame, has been convicted of first-degree murder and now faces life in prison.

In February of 2013, the man had been hitchhiking along a California roadway when Jett Simmons McBride picked him up. Not long after, McBride crashed into a utility worker on the side of the road and pinned him against a truck, Fox News reported.

The homeless man exited the car to help the utility worker. A woman also came to the scene to offer assistance. McBride exited the truck and began to bear hug the woman. Fearing McBride might hurt her, the homeless man used a hatchet he happened to have to repeatedly beat McBride about the head and face. McBride fled the scene, but police later charged him with attempted murder, KFSN reported.

That hero, known then only as “Kai the Hitchhiker,” became famous for his bizarre, profanity-laced interview with a KMPH reporter when he discussed the details of the incident. After police interrogated Kai, whose real name is Caleb McGillvary, they set him free. “Kai the Hitchhiker” became an internet sensation because of his bravery, and he even made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

In May of that year, things took a turn for the worse. McGillvary, then 24-years-old, was arrested on murder charges for the death of New Jersey attorney Joseph Galfy, 73. According to Fox News, McGillvary claimed that Galfy offered him a place to stay for the night after the two had reportedly met in Times Square. Two days later, Galfy was found beaten to death in his bedroom. Police arrested McGillvary several days later in Philadelphia and charged him with murder.

Fox News reported that John Cito, McGillvary’s defense attorney, argued that Galfy attempted to sexually assault McGillvary while he was sleeping, adding that police did not thoroughly investigate those claims. Prosecutors refuted those allegations based on the fact that the county medical examiner testified that Galfy sustained “three skull fractures, four broken ribs and severe contusions.” They reportedly said the extent of bodily harm done to Galfy ruled out self defense.

On Wednesday, a New Jersey court agreed with prosecutors and convicted McGillvary of first-degree murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June and faces life in prison, Fox News reported.

McGillvary maintains his innocence and, according to NJ.com, has reached out for legal assistance in filing an appeal, claiming his lawyer had been ineffective throughout the case.