ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The man known as “Kai the Hitchhiker” was sentenced to 57 years in prison Thursday in Union County superior court in New Jersey.
In April, 30-year-old Caleb “Kai” McGillvary was found guilty of murder in the 2013 beating-death of a Clark attorney.
The body of 73-year-old Joseph Galfy was found in his home.
The two men reportedly met in Times Square.
McGillvary gained some online fame in 2013 after intervening in an assault on a California utility worker was threatened by a man with a hatchet.
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.
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.