"Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker," propelled to infamy in a bizarre YouTube interview clip and arrested yesterday for murder, had one last on-screen hurrah at a closed-circuit TV arraignment in Philadelphia tonight.
Kai, whose real name is Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, was ushered into a room in Police Headquarters and appeared on a screen in the Criminal Justice Center before Magistrate Sheila M. Bedford shortly after 5 p.m. Wearing a black T-shirt with an indiscernible graphic on it and looking slightly dazed, the homeless hitchhiker stared into the camera as Bedford informed him that he is a fugitive from justice, wanted in Union County, N.J. on a murder charge.
"I hear you," McGillvary, 24, said when the judge asked if he understood the charge against him.
"But do you understand? That's the important part," Bedford replied.
"I understand that," he said.
When the assistant district attorney in the courtroom informed the judge that McGillvary has convictions from Canada on both felony and misdemeanor charges, the man was dumbfounded.
"What are the felonies?" he exclaimed as the proceedings continued without an answer to his question.
McGillvary - who became famous early this year when a YouTube video went viral of his account to a Fresno, Calif., television reporter of using a hatchet to stop a madman from attacking a woman - has been charged in Union County, N.J., with the bludgeoning death of attorney Joseph Galfy Jr., 73.
Galfy was found dead in his Clark, N.J. home, and after surveillance video showed a rendezvous between him and McGillvary, Union County officials announced yesterday that McGillvary was wanted in the crime.
People in Center City throughout the day yesterday had been calling 9-1-1 to report sightings of McGillvary all day, a police source said. He was nabbed by a Philadelphia police officer at the Greyhound Bus terminal about 6 p.m. after someone spotted him at the Starbucks at 10th and Chestnut streets a few blocks away.
McGillvary was held without bail on a charge of being a fugitive from justice in Philadelphia, and his next court date was set for May 28.
Bedford told McGillvary that he would be turned over to federal authorities because of a detainer on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
An ICE spokesman said last night that once the local charges against McGillvary, a Canadian citizen, are adjudicated, he will be turned over to federal authorities and placed in removal proceedings.