The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is a documentary film about a transient named Kai who in the space of a few months went from being a viral internet sensation to being accused of murder. The film is streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
On February 2, 2013, Jessob Reisbeck was reporting the news for a local news station in California when he came across an outlandish situation.
A man had driven his car into a construction vehicle and pinned a man in between. The driver was spewing racist speech and when a few bystanders approached to help him, he attacked them.
The passenger in his car got out and attacked the driver with a hatchet, saving the bystanders, and was hailed as a hero. Jessob interviewed the passenger, who appeared to be a homeless hitchhiker named Kai.
Kai had this carefree attitude and infectious charisma to him and Jessob was so impressed by the interview that he posted it online that very evening. Kai refused to talk to any more press making Jessob’s interview a rare commodity and it caught fire.
Soon, everyone wanted to get a word with Kai but he was nowhere to be found and the only person with access to him was Jessob. Jessob received countless emails and messages asking about Kai so he reached out to the guy nicknamed “the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker”.
Among those wanting to get in touch were people from “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and the people who created “Keeping Up with The Kardashians” who wanted to give Kai his own show.
So began Kai’s rise to stardom as he was eventually located and taken to Los Angeles to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live and perhaps more. However, despite his happy-go-lucky demeanor, many people took note of the chaotic aura hidden underneath.
He would often make strange and disturbing statements before switching back to his default state of chill and for every 5 people that were enthralled by him, there was one who remained suspicious of the kind of person that he is.
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker ending explained in detail:
What was Kai’s childhood like?
Kai claimed that he was locked in a cage for long hours and yelled at for being loud and unruly. He also told Jessob during his first interview that he was raped by a stranger at one point in his life.
Since there was no record of this incident anywhere else, there were some who doubted the accuracy of many of his statements. Kai’s cousin admitted that he lived a solitary and miserable life and was locked in a room for hours at a time.
However, his mother claims that she would only lock him at certain times for his own safety because he would often get up before her and get his hands in places that were a danger to him. His mother and father split up when he was four making him a child of a broken home.
What happened in the Jett McBride trial?
Jett McBride was the racist driver whom Kai attacked and Kai was the key witness in his trial. The authorities had a tough time locating him until it was revealed that he would be appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Kai was picked up by the police 90 minutes before the show but he was returned on the condition that he appears in court for the trial. During the trial, Kai described the events that happened but added that Jett admitted to raping a young girl during their conversations.
Kai also stated that he smoked a joint with Jett and implanted an idea of invisibility into Jett’s head during their state of influence. At a party sometime later, Kai claimed that the joint he handed to Jett was laced with other drugs but that was never proven.
Although Kai saved many people by attacking Jett, he was considered partly at fault for the situation after all the information came out.
Why was Kai arrested?
By May 2013, Kai had become something of a sensation and was constantly stopped for pictures by people who recognized him and enjoyed his vibe. However, things went south for him very soon.
A 74-year-old lawyer named Joseph Galfy. was found bludgeoned to death in his home in New Jersey. Upon further investigation, the police found out that Galfy was in contact with Kai and they confirmed it was him after speaking to authorities in California.
He was arrested soon after and Kai claimed that he attacked Galfy in self-defense after Kai was drugged and raped. Kai had even made social media posts vaguely alluding to the same situation.
Despite his version of events, the evidence at the crime scene pointed to something entirely different with Kai being considered the aggressor in a brutal crime.
Kai was eventually sentenced to 57 years of prison and in 2021, his attempts to appeal his conviction were rejected. Kai continues to stand by his assertion that he was acting in self-defense.