Who Is Caleb McGillvary, The Viral Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker?

The internet has made it possible for just about anyone to become a viral sensation, simply by being in the right place at the right time. A couple of generations ago, few would have given a second thought to, say, a kid who is exceptionally excited about corn on the cob; but now that social media is a thing, "Corn Kid" became a thing. Then there was Ted Williams, a man who was experiencing homelessness when a passerby captured his impossibly buttery voice on camera, leading to Williams' fortunes being turned around.

Back in 2013, a man named Caleb McGillvary (above) went viral for two reasons: first, he saved a stranger's life, as Vice News reports; and second, he described the incident to a TV news crew in a bizarre and expletive-laden explanation.

Just a few months later, however, McGillvary didn't save a life, but took one. As Vocative reports, he was charged with murder and, according to Women's Health, he is currently doing time for that crime, and will be in prison until 2061.

'Kai the Hitchiker' Goes Viral

In February 2013, as Vice News reports, things got weird in Fresno, California. A man going by the name of "Kai" — actually Caleb McGillvary — was hitchhiking through town when he picked the wrong man to hitch a ride with. The driver, identified by Women's Health as Jett Simmons McBride, began claiming that he was Jesus Christ, then deliberately drove into a pedestrian and pinned him to another vehicle, then began threatening a bystander who was trying to help. Kai jumped into action and beat off the assailant with an axe that he happened to be carrying.

It got even weirder. When a local news crew interviewed Kai about what happened, he gave an interview (which can be seen here, via YouTube) that was one for the ages. Dressed for the part as a goofy hippy, he opened by giving a brief homily about self-worth, then, with the help of a few choice blue words, explained how he used the axe: "I f**king ran up behind him with a hatchet, Smash! Smash! Suh-MASH!"

Afterwards, according to Vice News, he made the late-night talk show rounds and supposedly entertained offers for a reality show. But nothing came of it. A few months later he was behind bars, accused of murder.

The Murder

In May of 2013, as Vocative reports, Kai was doing what he always did — traveling around aimlessly, couch-surfing, and so on — when he had an encounter with a man named Joseph Galfy Jr. Kai claimed that he met the elderly attorney in Times Square and that Galfy offered Kai a ride and a place to crash. According to Kai's version of events, had some food and beers, which Kai claimed were drugged. He then claimed that he woke up from his fog to find Galfy in the process of attempting to sexually assault him, and Kai said he fought him off. However, as Women's Health reports, Galfy's injuries were inconsistent with a would-be sexual assault victim fending him off. Specifically, he had three skull fractures and several broken ribs, among other gruesome injuries.

The trial was, not unlike his interview with Fresno TV reporters, bizarre. As NJ.com reports, Kai was combative during the trial and was once threatened with expulsion from the courtroom following an outburst. Ultimately, a jury convicted him of first degree murder. He was sentenced to 57 years in prison, according to Women's Health, and is currently serving time in New Jersey.