NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey jury in the trial of the former internet star known as “Kai the Hitchhiker” has found him guilty of first-degree murder.
Galfy’s body was found May 13, 2013, in his Clark home. McGillvary was arrested in Philadelphia days later.
The Canadian gained some online fame after intervening in a February assault on a California utility worker in which he described using a hatchet to fend off a further attack.
The jury deliberation spread over two days and a four-week trial before state Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch.
According to Union County prosecutors, Clark Township police responded to Galfy’s home on Starlight Drive to find the victim’s partially clothed body prone beside his bed. Investigators said surveillance footage, digital cell phone data and other forms of evidence were used to identify McGillvary as a suspect.
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Investigators said McGillvary and Galfy first met in New York City’s Times Square, about a day and a half before the victim’s death.
McGillvary claimed self-defense at trial, the county medical examiner testified that the victim – “who stood 5-foot-5, weighed 230 pounds, and had a stent in his chest due to a heart condition” – sustained numerous serious blunt-force injuries to his face, head, neck, chest, and arms, including three skull fractures, four broken ribs, and severe contusions, abrasions, and bleeding.
Prosecutors said the extent of injuries contradicted McGillvary’s self-defense claim. They also said McGillvary cut his long hair and fled the state after the murder.
Galfy had been a partner with the Rahway-based law firm of Kochanski, Baron and Galfy, PC, and was a military veteran who reached the rank of Major while serving in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1970.
“This was a brutal, vicious, senseless crime, and we are pleased that the interests of justice have been served,” said Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan. “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.”
McGillivary faces up to life in prison and will be sentenced June 13.