CLARK, NJ — An online letter posted by Caleb McGillvary, an internet sensation charged in 2013 with the murder of a 73-year-old Clark man, alleges that local authorities have ignored evidence that he was defending himself “against a drug-facilitated sexual assault.”
The letter, which was posted alongside a petition advocating due process for McGillvary, also known as “Kai the Hitchhiker,” goes on to say the Union County Prosecutor’s Office neglected to collect a rape kit or conduct a toxicological analysis, even though the office “knew it was appropriate” while investigating, and failed to properly evaluate the crime scene.
“What items that were collected were rinsed with fresh water while testing for fingerprints, without ever once testing for DNA or drug residue,” reads McGillvary’s letter. “In order to justify these egregious due process violations, the Prosecutor’s Office lied about the purpose of the rape kit performed on the decedent: saying it proved that no signs of being drugged or raped, and that no semen was found.
McGillvary, a 27-year-old drifter from Canada, first entered public view in February 2013, when he beat a woman’s assailant with the backside of his hatchet in Fresno, California.
A TV interview about his actions, featuring an animated McGillvary, went viral online under the name “Kai, Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker,” and has more than 5 million views.
In May of the same year, McGillvary was charged with the murder of Joseph Galfy Jr., an attorney found dead when officers visited his home to respond to a concerned call from Kochanski, Baron & Galfy, the firm where the Galfy was a partner.
Investigators found that Galfy had brought McGillvary to his Clark home after a chance meeting in Times Square.
Several days later, McGillvary was arrested at a Philadelphia bus terminal. Since that point, he says, the justice system has failed him.
“The UCPO seems to think because I’m an indigent illegal immigrant from Canada, they can violate my procedural rights without consequence. This is an outrage,” reads the online letter. “How can I be expected to prove my innocence when the prosecutor gets rid of any evidence I could use to show I was defending myself from a drug-facilitated sexual assault, and gets away with using expert medical opinions from an unlicensed quack to indict me?”
The day after the murder, McGillvary posted on Facebook that he had been drugged, raped and found himself in a strange house, with no memory of how he got there. Support for McGillvary, a Canadian citizen, has recently blossomed on social media, and a Facebook group titled “Kai the Hitchhiker Legal Support Page” has more than 7,600 likes.
If found guilty in his trial, which is expected to start next year, McGillvary could face a sentence of 30 years to life.
“I am in dire straits; and if I don’t receive timely advocacy in this matter to hold those involved accountable to American and international standards for due process of law, I will be lost,” writes McGillvary. “Worse yet, the people responsible will be free to promulgate this egregious pattern of injustice upon others. Please respond and let me know that you will do everything in your power to ensure that this matter will end in a fair and just result. Thank you very much.”