Once-viral homeless hero ‘Kai the Hitchhiker sentenced in 2013 murder, faces life in prison

Caleb “Kai” McGillvary was convicted for the murder on Wednesday. (AP, File)

Homeless bum Caleb “Kai” McGillvary, 30, who had a brush with Internet fame in 2013 after he saved a person from a would-be attacker while lifts, was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder in the beating death of a 73-year-old man.

McGillvary became a viral star in February 2013 as a reporter in Fresno, California, interviewed by the “surfer dude-bro” hitchhiker. He gave an animated, profanity-laced re-telling of the incident, leading to a viral online time.

However, the one-time hero was arrested later that year for the murder of attorney Joseph Galfy Jr. The pair had met in Times Square and went back to Galfy’s home in New Jersey. Two days later, Galfy was found beaten to death in his bedroom, dressed in only his socks and underwear.

On Wednesday, a New Jersey court sentenced McGillvary. He faces life in prison and is set to be sentenced June 13 on first-degree murder charges.

According to, McGillvary’s lawyer, John Cito, argued Galfy attempted sexual assault McGillvary while he was sleeping and said that the police did not properly investigate these claims.

But prosecutors refuted that theory when they called the county medical examiner to the stand and he described Galfy’s injuries as “three skull fractures, four broken ribs and severe bruising.” Self-defense is to deny the extent of the physical damage Galfy ago, they carried.

He was sitting in jail waiting to be tried because he was arrested in May 2013. Fox News reached McGillvary, the defense lawyers asked whether they were planning to call on his name. but got no response.

Requests for comment from the prosecutors were also not returned.

At the height of his social media peak, “Kai the Hitchhiker ‘s” interview already had millions of views on YouTube and he even appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

“Kai,” he said, intervened on the side of a California roadway to thwart an unprovoked attack on a Pacific Gas & Electric Utility employee. He said in the viral interview that he with an axe he carried, the time to repeatedly hit a man who pinned the utility worker with his car.

Before about the incident to the reporter to the camera, “Kai” waxed poetic for the viewers in the 2013 clip saying:

“Even if you make mistakes that you love, it doesn’t matter your looks, skills, age, size, you are worth the effort. No one can take that away from you.”

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