It's currently the most popular true crime documentary film on Netflix.


Following the streaming service's deep-dive into the exploits of Bernie Madoff in Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street and the dramas in the life of Dawood Ibrahim as shown in Mumbai Mafia – Netflix is now set to examine the story of Kai - the internet star as shown in The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker.

The film examines the story of viral sensation Kai, the star of a 2013 news report in which he said he saved a woman by hitting her attacker with a hatchet.

While the Canadian hitchhiker became a viral internet figure for a time, events took a grisly turn when he eventually faced criminal prosecution for bludgeoning a 73-year-old lawyer to death.

So, as The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker dives into Kai's story, here's everything knows about the documentary's subject and where he is now.

Who is Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker as seen on Netflix?

Kai, whose real name is Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, is a convicted murderer who rose to fame after a news report about him went viral in 2013.

In the video, Canadian hitchhiker McGillvary was interviewed by California's KMPH News after professing to have come to the rescue of a woman being attacked by hitting the assailant over the head with a hatchet.

McGillvary claimed that he had been offered a ride by a driver, who had apparently confessed to him that he "raped a 14-year-old" when in the Virgin Islands before claiming to be Jesus Christ and driving into a pedestrian, pinning him against another truck.

"I ran in, I grabbed the keys, he's sitting there like nothing even happened," he said in the video. "Man, if he'd started driving that car around again, there would have been a hell of a lot of bodies around here."

He then alleged that the driver grabbed a woman who was trying to help the hit pedestrian, adding: "A guy that big can snap a woman's neck like a pencil stick so I f**king ran up behind him with a hatchet – smash, smash, smash!"

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The original video, posted on 3rd February 2013 by Jessob Reisbeck, was viewed by 7.9 million people – however several months later, McGillvary was arrested after being accused of murdering 73-year-old lawyer Joseph Galfy.

In May 2017, McGillvary was charged with first degree murder for the killing of Galfy, who he met in Times Square a day and a half before the death, according to USA Today.

McGillvary entered a plea of not guilty and said that he acted in self-defence, claiming that Galfy invited him back to his home and offered him a room to stay in before drugging and sexually assaulting him.

Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker
Kai in The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker Netflix

"I fought tooth and nail. On the street, like, don’t get me wrong, I’m a nice guy and stuff," he told Vocativ in 2016. "But if you’re sleeping underneath a train bridge and you wake up in a situation like that, you gotta fight for your life. It’s just a fact for survival on the streets."

After Galfy was found bludgeoned to death by police conducting a welfare check, they identified McGillvary as the suspect and arrested him after he was spotted at a nearby Greyhound bus terminal, CNN reported.

Whilst awaiting trial, McGillvary was imprisoned for over five years before he took to the stand in April 2019. The trial took place over four weeks, after which the jury found that he was guilty.

According to, McGillvary was almost thrown out of the courtroom after speaking out during his lawyer's closing argument and things "became combative" during his testimony whilst being cross-examined.

"This was a brutal, vicious, senseless crime, and we are pleased that the interests of justice have been served," Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan said in a statement.

"We sincerely thank the jury for their service and hope that today's verdict brings some measure of solace to Mr Galfy's family, friends, and loved ones."

Where is Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker now?

Kai in The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker
Kai in The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker Netflix

In May 2019, McGillvary – aka Kai the Hatcher Wielding Hitchhiker – was sentenced to 58 years in prison at the age of 30.

The court determined that he would have to serve at least 85 per cent of his sentence and while he appealed his conviction over instances of "misconduct, abuse of discretion and ineffectiveness of defence counsel", his murder was upheld by a New Jersey panel in August 2021.

Speaking to Inside Edition in January 2020 from prison, McGillvary said that he didn't realise he had killed Galfy despite his extensive injuries.

"The ear injury came from one horizontal kick from on my back – that ought to tell you I was on my back on the floor," he said, adding that he didn't call the police because he was an illegal immigrant and that critical evidence was ignored in court.

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is available to stream on Netflix now. Check out more of our Documentaries coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.

Sign up for Netflix from £6.99 a month. It is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.


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