An Alberta man who gained internet fame as “Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker” was sentenced to 57 years in prison on Thursday, for the beating death of a New Jersey lawyer.
Caleb McGillvary, 30, must serve at least 85% of his prison sentence under terms imposed in state Superior Court in Union County.
McGillivary, who met Joseph Galfy in New York’s Times Square, was staying at the man’s home in New Jersey, where police later discovered his body.
McGillvary was arrested in Philadelphia three days after the killing.
ABC News reports, McGillvary alleged he acted in self-defense following an attempted sexual assault. Prosecutors said his statements were inconsistent and also cited the 73-year-old victim’s extensive injuries.
McGillivary the one-time homeless hero who rose to internet stardom in 2013 when he used a hatchet to save a person from a would-be attacker while hitchhiking, is Cree from northern Manitoba. He was born in Edmonton, Alta.
The sentencing comes just over a month after McGillivary was convicted of first-degree murder in the prominent attorney’s death. He has been in jail since his arrest in May of 2013.
Although McGillivray had no substantial prior criminal record, Judge Robert Kirsch said a “strong and unmistakable message” must be sent with a lengthy prison term.
“You are crafty, you are cunning, you are disingenuous, and you are manipulative,” Kirsch told McGillvary describing numerous ways in which the McGillvary attempted to cover his tracks following the killing, including cutting off his long hair. “And when you become eligible for parole, you will still be younger than Mr. Galfy was when you murdered him.”
McGillvary will be eligible for parole in 2061.