As Caleb “Kai” Lawrence McGillvary’s story resurfaces thanks to a new Netflix documentary, we revisit the interview with Jessob Reisbeck that catapulted him to fame.
WARNING: Content of a disturbing nature and spoilers for The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker ahead
A decade ago, Kai rocketed to fame following an interview with Reisbeck that went viral. He became colloquially known as ‘Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker’ after he struck Jett Simmons McBride with a hatchet three times. McBride had been driving Kai the Hitchhiker when he hit a pedestrian with his car. McBride then allegedly went to attack a female bystander, before Kai intervened.
Jessob Reisbeck interviewed Kai McGillvary after the attack in footage that gained him nationwide fame.
Who is Jessob Reisbeck?
Jessob Reisbeck is a news reporter currently based in Wisconsin. He previously served as morning anchor at Fox 6 in Milwaukee but, as of November 2020, serves as evening anchor on CBS 58.
After graduating from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication (Arizona campus), Reisbeck got his start in the industry at WAOW-TV, covering the news in Wausau, Wisconsin. He started out as a sports reporter there in August 2004 before moving to Syracuse, New York (WSTM) and Fresno, California (KMPH). Reisbeck also had stints at WJLA in Washington, DC.
In March 2009, Reisbeck started covering sports and news for KMPH-TV in Fresno. It was there the journalist came into contact with Kai Lawrence (Caleb McGillivary) and conducted the infamous interview.
Reisbeck features in the new Netflix documentary covering what happened to Kai.
Watch Jessob Reisbeck’s infamous interview with Kai
The five-minute inteview Jessob Reisbeck conducted with Kai the Hitchhiker remains on the official KMPH Fox 26 YouTube channel. The clip gained Kai such internet notoriety he became a meme. He even has his own profile on the KnowYourMeme website.
“Can we talk to you? Do you mind?” Reisbeck asks the then 24-year-old Kai.
Kai then proceeds to explain what happened after being picked up by Jett Simmons McBride when hitchhiking. In the interview, you can hear Kai’s infamous “smash, smash, suh-mash” quote at 1 minute 37 seconds. You can watch Reisbeck’s interview with Kai below but please be warned it features disturbing content and bad language throughout:
Kai landed on Jimmy Kimmel after Jessob Reisbeck interview
Shortly after KMPH aired the interview with Kai the Hitchhiker, both he and Reisbeck were invited on to Jimmy Kimmel Live. They appeared on the late night show on February 11, 2013 just three months before Kai was arrested and charged with murder following an incident in New York.
Kimmel interviewed Kai, real name Caleb McGillvary, in a hitchhiking set-up in which he ends the segment by joking: “Thanks for not killing me with a hatchet.”
Watch Kai the Hitchhiker on Jimmy Kimmel Live below:
What happened to Kai the Hitchhiker?
In May 2013, three months after Kai became an internet celebrity, he was arrested and charged with the murder of 73-year-old lawyer Joseph Galfy.
Galfy was found dead at his New York home with severe injuries to his head. Police found a piece of paper at Galfy’s home with Kai’s name and number on it as well as a train ticket receipt. The police then uncovered surveillance footage of Galfy purchasing a train ticket for Kai before they hugged goodbye.
Kai was tracked down at a bus station in Philadelphia before he confessed to the murder of Galfy. He claimed the attack was in self-defense but this didn’t hold in court. Kai remained in prison for more than five years while awaiting trial. In 2019, a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 57 years in prison, where he remains to this day.
You can watch The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker on Netflix now.