Internet celebrity "Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker" sought in New Jersey man's murder

Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for internet celebrity "Kai the hatchet wielding hitchhiker" in the murder of Joseph Galfy, Jr., a lawyer based in Clark, New Jersey.

Galfy was found Monday in his home, killed by blunt force trauma to the head.

[Kai] McGillvary gamed fame online for his intervention in a Feb. 1 attack in Fresno, California. He was riding with a man who drove into a utility worker. The Fresno Bee reported that McGallivary pulled a hatchet from his backpack and struck the driver in the head after he confronted the Pacific Gas & Electric worker.


A strange Facebook post by Kai Tuesday evening may or may not provide a clue to why this happened:

what would you do if you woke up with a groggy head, metallic taste in your mouth, in a strangers house... walked to the mirror and seen come dripping from the side of your face from your mouth, and started wretching, realizing that someone had drugged, raped, and blown their fuckin load in you? what would you do?

(via Jeff Simmermon)


  1. When all you have is a hatchet, every problem looks like a tree that just blew its load in your mouth.

  2. The part of me that hates violence and vigilantism is wrestling with the part that thinks rapists’ heads and axes aren’t necessarily a bad match. And the innocent until proven guilty part is telling me to just shut the hell up for now about both of  ’em. 

    So… any more monkey videos?

    1. Yeah. In a hypothetical situation, if a rape victim is certain of the identify of their attacker, I fully support the right of the victim to smash the rapist’s head in. Spoken as a rape survivor here.

      But that’s hypothetical, and real life is always more complicated.

      And we have no idea what’s going on in this particular story.

      1. On the one hand, I don’t really support revenge killing under any circumstances. On the other hand, leaving your attacker alive is dangerous, particularly if you know the police will do nothing or not enough to protect you, in which case I’d deem it self-defense. I loath non-consensual violence. But when someone has attacked me, they’ve forfeited their immunity from reprisal. But as you said, we barely have any clues as to what this whole thing is actually about.

        1. So now he’s killed two people?

          I wonder if it occurred to him that he’s likely to be raped in prison?

          1. For the record, he didn’t actually kill the first guy that made him famous, he only bludgeoned  him. With a ratchet, not a hatchet, as it turns out.

      2. If things happened the way he wrote, I wouldn’t be surprised if he killed the guy.  Sounds like he lost it.

        I abhor killing, but zooming in on the spectrum of killings, this one would be well within the I can see why zone.  I couldn’t though condone it – too many people would follow suit, and not all with good reason.

        But I think the law generally has a good bead on all of this, given the many years of practice it’s had dealing with it.  If he killed him under these circumstances, the murder charge makes sense, but so too will his defence, and he may well be freed.

        1. You know, there’s a kind of industry of young, straight drifters murdering old, gay men and claiming sexual self-defense.

          1. ffs


            That’s incredible.  You’d think when the killer heard their same-sex lawyer say “I’ll get you off” they’d go into another “panic”.

            Honestly, the depths, the mud.

            That’s the problem with “justifiable homicide” – if you can raise the sympathies of a jury / judge, you can get away with murder.

      3. Don’t say that around here Xeni or a bunch of rapist/pedo apologists will jump on you or not thinking about their human rights and rehabilitation. Their pure ethical stance makes them better than you and I, you see.

      4. Surprised to hear that from you.  Mainly because I am a rabid advocate of self-defense (I’d prefer every would-be rapist winding up with several new holes, courtesy of their would-be victim) up to and including killing a person who chooses to use violence against you.  However I don’t support ‘revenge violence’.  I acknowledge that it is a natural human process and I certainly don’t blame anybody for wishing death upon their victimizer – but the law cannot abide revenge.  The justice system is in place to deal with bad guys who have chosen to use violence against another person.  Violence is only acceptable when it used to stop an immediate threat – after the threat is gone, we have laws and civilized society to deal with the criminal.

        Self-defense is a human right, and I aggressively work to support laws that are in place to protect a victim who uses violence against their attacker.  I also oppose laws that hamper the plight of any would-be victim.

        I’m sorry about your experience.  Thank you for talking about it – the more that such atrociousness is talked about, the less space there is for rapist evil-doers to hide.  I *hate* any person who uses violence against another person for their own personal gain.  On top of that, I consider a government which de-legitimizes self-defense to be *evil*.  Capital ‘E’ evil.

        1. Yes, but always you have to maintain the distinction between the mental state of the person committing the act of violence:  if it’s for revenge, that’s bad for society, and breeds more violence; if it’s for self-defence, society understands.

          No matter how much I empathize and sympathize with revenge motivations (members of my family have good reason along Xeni’s lines but have not pursued, and close friends’ families have had similar reasons and successfully pursued, to their ultimate detriment), acting out of revenge opens the doors to barbarism and chaos, where new boundaries on justifiable homicide are drawn according to the feel of the day.  An eye for an eye is a dangerous justice mechanism.

          The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN) gives us the right to security of person, but not the right to violence.  Violence is a legal defence to a legal charge, and the charge may well never make it to court if it’s plain enough to the prosecuting attorney that self-defence was valid.  I believe all sophisticated charters on human rights make the same distinction.  I agree with that distinction.

          It’s an awful dilemma for me.  For the members of my family who’ve suffered, and continue to suffer, I’d love to see their assailants cut down in cold blood.  But I know if I allowed or advocated that, there’d be more blood.

          If a random hypothetical situation arose where I were packing a rifle and the perps showed up and identified themselves to me 1,000 miles from nowhere, in a desert with no witnesses, and they had no connections whatsoever to anyone, I’d sure be in a dilemma.  But not if their intent were to commit the same atrocities on me.

          If it helps, I’m not in agreement with the laws on reasonable force (here in England).  If I found an intruder in my house, outside my daughter’s bedroom, I’d presume the worst and use every resource and tactic at my immediate disposal to expel and/or incapacitate them.  I’d fight my case in the court were I charged.  But then, I wouldn’t want to have a “shoot them on your property” law either.

          I feel so, so deeply for those who have had acts of crime committed against them, but would beg on my knees that killing not be the justice mechanism.

          And Xeni – by gum your courage and capability impress me.  All the things you’ve experienced.  Apologies if this all rubs the wrong way, I wanted to get it off my chest, it was eating me overnight.

      5. Hypothetical indeed. Actually I don’t think I can fully support that. The thing is… one is whoever one is.  For me, losing that sense of self as some one who would *not* do that would be even more destructive than the assault against me. For me, the only wish is/would be to be vindicated.. to have the person seen for what they did. “YES you did this, and YES it was wrong” is all the justice I would ever ask for myself. Even at that I find myself thinking “but honestly, I don’t even want to remain that close to it” Nothing changes what has already been done. For that reason the only motivation I would have even to file charges is consideration for a potential future victim.

    2. You should know that Xeni is all about teh kittehs! Here’s a video that covers both:

  3. Did anyone else see something like this coming (allegedly) the minute they saw the TV interview with him, the first time?

      1. On Youtube there’s an interview Kai gave to a local newsguy, and the newguy said that off-camera Kai gave him a personal history that included some kind of abuse while he was young that was “too gruesome to describe on air”.  No details were given, but it’s not hard to imagine someone with that in their background having a strong reaction to being placed back in that setting as an adult.

        If it happened as a child.  If it happened again as an adult.

      2. Yes. His previously detached reaction suggested long term PTSD or even RAD. People enter a “drifter” lifestyle for a lot of reasons… but it can also be a cover for honestly not being able to handle any kind of attachment/comfort/social closeness. I’ve known some one with severe RAD, who was an amazingly abused child who past through the foster care system. It’s really really complex, but honestly he reminds me of that. The problem is also that from what I have seen some times people who are really severely traumatized with this disorder kind of go back and forth in time. Meaning they may describe things from the past as the present, which could also mean the guy he allegedly killed didn’t really assault him. This will be a tragic and painful case for all I think.

        1. I guess what also sets me off in this case is the “raped for social justice woo fuckin hoo” response to his own post. 

    1. I didn’t. The first time he was in the news, it sounded like he’d responded heroically to an unlikely emergency that was not of his making. Nothing about it made me think he’d end up in a situation like this.

        1. Or he liked saving someone, at great personal risk, and surviving to tell about it. Can’t say as that broadcasts “bloodthirsty killer” to me. YMMV.

        2. I would’ve liked it too. Fucking up evil people in the midst of doing evil things is an action that should be celebrated. The commission of certain acts invalidates a person’s right to not be fucked up. At some point it is actually more ethical to be the judge, jury and executioner than to do nothing.

          1. Assuming you are correct, and your perception of reality is correct. In some cases, this may be a bigger assumption than it seems. 

            This negates nothing. I’m just trying to hit home the reality that you are speaking for yourself from likely a rational stance and most likely you are not severely mentally ill, or acting on some kind of deep bias.

            IOW, by giving you all the benefit of the doubt I have to question your statement. It is only more ethical assuming you happen to be RIGHT.

          2. While what you say is true, I am leery of attempts to psychoanalyze a person based on a five-minute interview with a news network whose goal is to find the sensational stories that sell ads and get the most entertaining version they can find to air. I’m even leery of mental health professionals who do the whole expert bit of remote psychoanalysis on celebrities, politicians, high-profile defendants, ect…

            In part this is because, as someone who has a mental condition that is non-obvious from casual encounter, I’m sensitive to just how difficult it is to figure out what is going on in someone’s head. And I see mental health labels increasingly being thrown around like smoke grenades. In a perverse way, this is an indicator of the good thing that awareness of these conditions is rising, and that can lead to more acceptance.

            But I’ve also seen it been used, and had it been used, to discredit anything said by myself or others who happen to be differently-abled, with no regard to whether our condition actual effects on credibility on the topic at hand. It’s also why I can empathize when a woman is ignored because she’s a woman, when being a woman has no bearing on being credible. And when I see those labels being speculatively tossed on someone who is a little bit “off” to our sense of normal, I’m left to wonder if it isn’t us being prejudiced toward someone for not coloring within the lines.

            People, and I mean this with *absolutely* no contempt, don’t get to the sheer margins of society for no reason at all.

            The problem is that we don’t know what those reasons are, and it’s dangerous to assume that the reasons are attributable to the person at the margins, and not others that pushed them there.

            This is an ugly intersection where rape culture, homophobia, ablism, perception bias and good old fashioned othering collide. It’s a messy intersection. The only way I can see to navigate it is to not jump to any conclusions. Unfortunately, rushing to judgement seems to be what our culture is best it in these pile-ups. Fortunately, I’m grateful for places liky BoingBoing where people with diverse backgrounds and divergent opinions can have a constructive and respectful conversation, even if we don’t always get it right. Such spaces are sorely lacking on the internet at large.

    2. That interview happened immediately after he had witnessed what he thought was murder and bashed a guy’s head in with the back of a hatchet and is not a reasonable representation of his character. If you have been in any panic-inducing situation you’d know that adrenaline levels shoot through the roof and you will seem REALLY wired.

      The other interviews of his on Fox and late night TV shows portray a much calmer, more relaxed dude.

      1. Very true. He had just experienced something traumatic at that time. Again this just strikes me as what is going to be a horrible and ugly case. 

  4. His answer to “what would you do?” – on three occasions – appears to be braining someone. Sometimes that is ok, mostly it isn’t, but it certainly isn’t what I want my first instinct to be.

    1. What was the third time? I only heard about this recent event and the famous one.

      1. In the video that first brought us Kai, at around the 2:50 mark, he talks about a separate incident, one where he also felt justified to start “smashing” someone else “in the head.” (He was coming to the defense of a woman being attacked, “in the orchard.”)

        He gets into more self-justified brain-bashing situations than I do.

        1. He pretty clearly lives on the edge of society. I don’t know about you, but he probably encounters more credible threats than I do.

          1. I agree. I’m grateful for the lack of situations in my life where extreme violence seems like -or is – the necessary action to take.

          2. People, and I mean this with *absolutely* no contempt, don’t get to the sheer margins of society for no reason at all. 

  5. I do not want to live in a society where a murderer can be absolved of the crime by simply claiming rape after the fact, gay or not.

    1. “simply by claiming”. Because being raped is so simple?I do not want to live in a society where rape is taken so lightly.

        1. True, but let’s be honest. “claiming rape” is often called an “excuse” in almost any instance. There is a legitimate grievance here with the continued suggestion that people “claim rape” falsely to justify… any action actually including claiming rape at all ever.

          At the same time, making this even more complicated, there actually *is also* a precedent of men claiming fear of rape as justification for murdering homosexuals.

          We don’t see women getting away with this “I kind of thought that guy might rape me or might have raped me… so I killed him” as much as men. 

          It is very much a discriminatory bias against gay men.

    2. It’s a good thing you live in a society with laws, judges, lawyers, and juries then.  Nobody has been absolved  of any any crime.  Let the facts come out as best they can before you claim someone was absolved.

          1. I don’t think that he’s being arrested so that he can take the Sacrament of Penance. Although, who knows these days. New Jersey could have outsourced their courts to a Vatican call center somewhere in Asia.

          2. “Press two for a venial sin; press three for a mortal sin; or hold on the line for being homosexual or if you are considering an abortion. Thank you for calling Vatican Assist.”

    3. Rape is violence. If someone punches you you have the right to punch them. If someone commits an act of violence against you, you have the right to defend yourself. People seem to think the finality of death of somehow worse than the ‘once only’ impact of rape but that is fucking bullshit. Rape is a life sentence for the victim and I have absolutely no problem with a victim murdering their rapist.

    1. He seemed like a nice enough chap…

      Nope, never heard the next-door neighbor saying that on the news before.

      Ooh, he seemed like a lovely fellow. Always dressing up as a clown for children’s parties.

    1. Well superheroes don’t commit murder, for one thing. Also, wouldn’t it kind of suck if he drugged himself, and then murdered the wrong guy? There’s a reason we have courts.

      1. Or maybe he drools/snots in his sleep… it can be hard finding the “right guy” to murder.

        There are days where I wake up, not entirely clear on the previous evenings events, and feeling dead-set on catching the bear that shit in my mouth.

    1. A: That’ victim blaming a la she should have known better.
      B: Are we in a Stephen King story?

          1. Why the fuck would you assume that a 73 year-old man, now dead, is a rapist? Because a drifter with a history of hitting people over the head said so? Or maybe just because it’s easier to make homophobic assumptions.

        1. Of the murder, not the rape. I was responding very specifically to Flashman’s comment which implied that it was up to the rape victim to avoid being raped. It is entirely possible for two people to be the victim of each other for different transgressions. If this was a revenge killing, then the rape victim is also the murderer (victimizer). But since we’re speculating based on a cryptic Facebook post and a nonspecific APB, I don’t actually know if either was the victim of the other.

          Flashman’s question still sounds like victim blaming.

          1.  Call it “victim” blaming I guess but I’m just saying you can’t be invited back to some old guy’s place, some guy that you just met on the street in Times Square New York, and then act all shocked and surprised when something like this happens. And you *definitely* don’t get to so shocked and surprised that you smash his head in until he’s dead.

          2. Ugh this is the ugly intersection where rape culture and homophobia collide, isn’t it?

            Look… no you definitely can be shocked and surprised to be raped. Even if you went back to some guys place. No matter who you are, you can be shocked and surprised to get raped. Especially drugged and raped (assuming this actually happened).

            Guys who get raped by other guys and *don’t* do anything violent often face a horrible stigma (especially if they *are* gay), so please don’t do them the disservice of suggesting they deserved it.

            At the same time, first of all, bashing some one’s head in because you think they might have raped you may sound ok when people say it on the internet… but it’s not ok and it damned sure isn’t going to help you much.

            ALSO… it is true that we do not know if he was raped, which does not mean rape victims are liars. It means we also do not know if a multitude of other things happened. This is going off of a facebook post, after all.

            Lastly, homophobia (bolstered by the above mentioned stigma against male rape victims… which is a part of homophobia anyway) leaves us with a situation where gay men may be killed with the accusation of rape or fear of rape as a defense. 

            This can happen either as an excuse for a hate crime, but also as a genuine terror that comes from homophobia.

            Either way the whole situation works out like shit for everyone but male rapists and men who kill gays.

    2. Me? Not go.
      But if this guy’s childhood was what some have suggested, he may have been compelled by his tragic past. Just like mental illness needs more attention in the US, so does childhood sexual abuse.

      1. Not just attention. Oh lord, attention can be the worst thing ever. But a difficult thing would have to happen in society. We would have to, in majority, see the whole schema of society.  If mental illness and sexual abuse already seem like threatening things that happen to other people… that’s already a fail.

  6. “Listen, when I see 5 weirdos in sheets, stabbing a guy to death in front of a crowd of people, I shoot them – that’s MY policy!”

    “It was a SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK PRODUCTION!! You shot 5 ACTORS!! Good ones!!!”

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