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The strange journey of the man who went from hatchet-wielding hitchhiker to convicted killer

The strange journey of the man who went from hatchet-wielding hitchhiker to convicted killer

He became a viral sensation but ended up behind bars. Now his story is the subject of a new Netflix documentary.

Back in 2013, a homeless man became a viral sensation and internet hero - just months before a dramatic fall from grace.

Kai became known as 'the hatchet wielding hitchhiker' following an infamous news report, shortly before being charged with murder.

Watch him tell his story - prior to the murder charge - here:

Kai went viral off the back of an interview in which he gave his account of an incident that had just taken place.

Kai - who was 24 at the time - said he hitched a ride from a man who claimed to be Jesus Christ, before ploughing into a pedestrian.

He said a woman then came over to help, at which point the driver got out of the vehicle and began choking her.

Sensing her danger, Kai said he got his hatchet out of his bag and hit the man over the head with it.

"So I f**king ran up behind with a hatchet... Smash, smash, smash," Kai said in the viral news segment.

The interview made him an internet sensation, and he was quickly lined up for chat show appearances, reality TV shows and musical collaborations.

In one interview with Fox, he opened up about his traumatic upbringing, which the network said was 'darker and more gut-wrenching than you can imagine' - too dark to air, in fact.

Kai opened up about his traumatic upbringing.
FOX 26 News

Kai explained that his real name is Caleb Lawrence McGillvary and he was raised in western Canada, where 'a lot of bad stuff' happened to him.

He said he went on to do a year in university and can speak three languages, but still carried scars from his childhood.

"I am the dad I always wanted," he said. "I go out camping all the time, I'm good to people."

Just three months on from his viral interview, Kai was on trial for the murder of New Jersey attorney Joseph Galfy, which he claimed was self-defence.

His story is the subject of a new Netflix documentary.

Kai met Galfy in Times Square, New York, before returning with him to his home in New Jersey.

Two days later, the attorney was found beaten to death in his bedroom, wearing only underwear and socks.

Jurors in New Jersey's Union County convicted the Canadian of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to 57 years in prison.

At his sentencing, the judge called Kai 'a powder keg of explosive rage,' adding: "You created this public image of a free spirit, but underneath that free spirit the jury saw another side of you: a cold-blooded, calculated, callous killer."

His story is the subject of new Netflix documentary The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, which is available to stream now.

Featured Image Credit: KMPH FOX26 NEWS

Topics: Film and TV, Netflix, Crime, Viral