Caleb “Kai” McGillvary had his 15 minutes of fame on YouTube in February after saving a man’s life with a hatchet.
But now, McGillvary is back in the news for allegedly ending a man’s life, in an incident that some outlets are speculating started as a gay hookup.
McGillvary, 24, has been charged with the brutal murder of 73-year-old New Jersey attorney Joseph Galfy. He was arrested at the Greyhound Bus terminal on Filbert Street in Philadelphia last Thursday.
Authorities say McGillvary and Galfy met in Times Square in New York City May 11 and then headed to Galfy’s home in Clark, N.J., where McGillvary spent two nights.
McGillvary, who is homeless, had been reported to be on a cross-country trek staying with “fans” who followed his viral video, in which he described how he stopped an attack on a utility worker by fending off the assailant with a hatchet he was carrying.
On May 13, Galfy was found beaten to death in his home wearing only socks and underwear.
On his Facebook page May 14, McGillvary asked followers what they would do if they “woke up with a groggy head, metallic taste in your mouth in a stranger’s house” and had been raped by a man.
One poster suggested McGillvary hit the assailant with a hatchet, to which McGillvary replied, “I like your idea.”
Both Union County police and the prosecutor’s office declined comment to PGN on whether the victim and suspect had a sexual encounter.
McGillvary was arraigned in Philadelphia last Friday and will be transferred to the Union County Jail in Elizabeth, N.J., where bail will be set at $3 million.
Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, which coordinates the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, said the incident “looks very much like the hook-up violence we are seeing in our work.”
“We know there is a need for LGBTQ-specific and mainstream community-based organizations to develop programs and campaigns to increase public awareness of hook-up violence and intimate-partner violence affecting our communities,” she added. “We also want all LGBTQ people to have the information they need to stay safe.”
Garden State Equality has been in touch with NYCAVP, although communications director TJ Helmstetter noted that such cases are not the organization’s focus.
“We’ve been in close communication with the AVP and obviously these kinds of acts are deeply troubling and we are staying on top of the facts as we learn them,” Helmstetter said.