‘Kai the Hitchhiker’ loses bid to overturn murder conviction

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A former online celebrity who became known for allegedly using a hatchet to fend off an attack on a highway worker failed in his attempt to have his conviction in a 2013 murder overturned.

Caleb McGillvary was convicted two years ago of the 2013 murder of attorney Joseph Galfy at Galfy’s New Jersey home. The two had met in New York’s Times Square, and McGillvary claimed he killed the older man while fending off a sexual assault. He is serving a 57-year sentence.

Among many arguments in his appeal, the Alberta, Canada, native claimed the jury’s verdict wasn’t justified by the evidence presented and that prosecutors committed misconduct by mischaracterizing the evidence and McGillvary’s defense. He also accused the trial judge of improperly allowing highly prejudicial expert testimony.

In rejecting all of McGillvary’s arguments in its opinion Wednesday, the appeals court noted that the medical examiner’s testimony showed Galfy’s injuries were so severe that they were the result of “far more than than just an effort to thwart a sexual advance,” in the opinion of the trial judge.

“The record does not suggest a miscarriage of justice occurred,” the two-judge panel wrote.

McGillvary became known as “Kai, the Hatchet-wielding Hitchhiker” after a 2012 incident in California. In a TV interview viewed millions of times online, he described using a hatchet he was carrying to repeatedly hit a man who had struck the worker with his car, and also fend off a further attack on two women.


This story has been corrected to show the ruling was released Wednesday, not Thursday.

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