ELIZABETH, NJ — A man accused of killing a 73-year-old Clark lawyer in his home testified Wednesday that he was victim of “date rape” by the attorney, and that he beat the older man to fend off a sexual assault.
Caleb “Kai” McGillvary said he passed out after eating a hamburger and drinking a beer in the kitchen of attorney Joseph Galfy, and that he awoke on the floor in the master bedroom of the house with Galfy on top of him pulling down his pants.
“I sat up and punched him the face as hard as I could,” McGillvary told jurors as he suddenly looked down, nearly shaking at the recollection of the incident as he testified in his own defense.
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McGillvary, now 30 and known by the nickname “Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker,” is charged with murder in the May 12, 2013 fatal beating of Galfy.
During much of his testimony, McGillvary sat up straight on the witness stand, his head held high, though he became irritated when Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch repeatedly instructed him to answer the questions simply without extended explanations.
He explained that he was an illegal immigrant from Canada, and that he had gained a large social media following after an incident in California where he helped a man who was being beaten by hitting the assailant in the head with a hatchet. McGillvary was later interviewed on the Jimmy Kimmel show about that incident.
During his testimony, McGillvary’s demeanor changed when, under questioning from his lawyer, John Cito, he described what he said was Galfy’s sexual assault that he said left him shaken.
He said Galfy “body-slammed him” as he was on the floor, tried to keep him down and attempted to perform oral sex on him. McGillvary said he punched, kicked and kneed Galfy during the struggle.
McGillvary said he could not remember how the struggle ended or when he left the house. His next memory was when he walked through a parking lot in Clark wearing different pants than the ones he had on before the assault.
The defendant opened his testimony by saying that on May 11, 2013, the day before the fight, he was wandering around New York City, making plans to meet a friend in New Jersey, when he was approached by Galfy in Times Square who offered to drive him to his Clark home.
That night, Galfy bought food and gave McGillvary three beers, the last of which tasted disgusting, the defendant said. He said Galfy always turned his back to him before pouring the beer into a glass. McGillvary has previously suggested Galfy drugged him.
After the third beer, McGillvary said, he asked to go to sleep in the guest bedroom, and that was when Galfy suggested they take a shower together, which McGillvary declined saying he was heterosexual.
“That’s when I first realized he was gay,” the defendant told the jury.
The next morning Galfy woke him up, and McGillvary went in the bathroom and saw residue on the side of his mouth, he said. McGillvary has previously said the residue was male bodily fluid.
That morning, Galfy drove McGillvary to the Rahway train station, where the defendant said he took trains to Asbury Park to meet a friend.
While waiting, McGillvary said, he cut his hair, because it was hot outside, and cut off the legs of his jeans because he wanted to exercise.
When the friend failed to arrive, McGillvary said, he called Galfy and asked to again stay at his house for the night. Galfy drove to get McGillvary, returned to his house, cooked the hamburgers and gave his visitor a beer, which resulted in McGillvary passing out, he said.
After the alleged sexual assault in which Galfy was beaten, McGillvary said he somehow changed his pants and left the house. He went to a diner where he met two men who he befriended by showing them a video of himself that was on the internet.
The men bought him food and gave him money for a ticket back to Asbury Park, he said. He was still traumatized by the incident at the home, and discovered his cellphone smelled of urine, which caused flashbacks to the fight, so he discarded the phone.
McGillvary said he borrowed another person’s phone to call a woman friend, and hung out with her and others, including dancers from a “gentlemen’s club,” for the next three days. On May 16, he went to the Philadelphia bus station, planning to take a trip to friends in the south when arrested by police who said he was wanted in New Jersey.
That night, detectives from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office questioned McGillvary, and told him Galfy was dead. It was the first time, the defendant said, that he heard of the death.
“I thought he had a black eye and went to work the next day,” he testified.
McGillvary became combative under cross examination from Union County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Peterson. McGillvary continued giving long answers, talking over Peterson who tried asking questions.
Several times the judge instructed McGillvary to simply answer the questions, which drew complaints from the defendant.
“How are you not letting me testify,” McGillvary said at one point. “You are violating my sixth amendment right,” he said another time, and cited federal laws.
Peterson suggested that McGillvary cut his hair and threw away his phone to evade investigators, which the defendant denied.
The day after fight in the house, Galfy’s law partners called police, who made a wellness check at his home and found him dead, dressed in his underwear, stretched across his bed with his feet on the floor. Authorities said they checked Galfy’s cellphone and found a number they tied to McGillvary. They said they also found messages McGillvary left on his Facebook page about the alleged sexual assault.
Summations in the trial are scheduled for Tuesday.