What Happened To Jett McBride From Netflix's The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker?

Caleb McGillvary, known to the world as "Kai the Hatchet-wielding Hitchhiker," became an overnight internet celebrity following a viral interview where he described saving the lives of three people by hitting their would-be assailant in the head with the blunt end of his hatchet. McGillvary's quirky and energetic interview would be viewed more than eight million times on YouTube. His overnight fame even got him an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (per YouTube).

But the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker's life would soon alter from its trajectory as a lovable and vulgar hero to one accused of murder. Months after the lone incident that would make him a viral sensation, he was arrested and charged with the murder of 73-year-old Joseph Galfly, a New Jersey attorney (per NJ.com). The victim was found in his bed, dressed only in his undergarments. He had been viciously beaten to death.

According to The Washington Post, the two men had met in Times Square and shared several beers together. Galfly invited McGillvary to his home where McGillvary claimed he was sexually assaulted by the attorney.  McGillvary would go on to be convicted of Galfly's murder in 2019. CBS News reports that he was sentenced to 57 years in prison for the offense. He appealed the conviction, which was ultimately upheld by a panel of judges in April 2021 (per NJ.com).

McGillvary saved 2 people from Jett McBride

The video interview that made McGillvary internet famous stemmed from an incident in 2012. McGillvary was hitchhiking in Fresno, California when he was picked up by Jett McBride (pictured). According to what McGillvary said in the video, McBride began giving his passenger details about a sexual assault he had committed several years before while on a business trip to the Virgin Islands. Then, after proclaiming himself to be Jesus Christ, McBride jerked the wheel of his vehicle so that it hit a pedestrian, pinning him with the bumper. As two women rushed to the injured man's aid, McGillvary asserts that McBride rushed over and put one of the women in a bear hug. This prompted McGillvary to strike McBride from behind with his hatchet (per YouTube).

McBride was arrested and charged with attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and battery (via Court Listener). His defense team would enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on his behalf. The jury took a month to deliberate on whether or not McBride was sane at the time of the crimes. When they, at last, came back with a verdict, they ruled that McBride was legally insane. The court remanded McBride to a mental health institution for nine years and sent him to get treatment at the Atascadero State Hospital.

Jett McBride could be released in 2023

Scott Baly, who served as McBride's attorney at trial, told ABC News that his client had made noticeable progress with his mental health from the time of his arrest to the culmination of his trial (via ABC 7 News). The lawyer revealed that his client had a difficult time staying focused around the time of his arrest, and his "speech pattern was irregular and kind of disturbed." Court documents would paint a vivid picture of a seriously mentally disturbed man who, among other things, believed that he was being tracked by the CIA, was the target of a plot by the Illuminati, and that had been suffering from the delusion that he was Jesus Christ since just before the preceding Christmas (per Court Listener).

Baly stated that his client was remorseful about the harm he had caused. He told the media that he was confident that with proper mental health treatment, McBride would someday be able to rejoin society and live a productive life. A legal analyst for ABC30 News told the outlet that this would likely take years to happen. Tony Capozzi stated, "If he is released to the community, he has to have someone overseeing him to ensure he has the medications and again, that he's not a danger to the community."

For now, McBride is still being treated at the Atascadero State Hospital. No updates have been made available to the public regarding his current mental state or any potential release date. But if no additions have been made to his sentence, he was scheduled to rejoin society later in 2023.