Hatchet hero of California attack pleads not guilty to N.J. murder

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 03, 2013 6:56 PM

By David Jones

NEWARK (Reuters) - A homeless man who briefly gained Internet fame when he thwarted an attack on a woman in California by rushing to her assistance wielding a hatchet pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that he killed a 73-year-old man in New Jersey, according to a source familiar with the proceedings.

The man, 24-year-old Caleb McGillvary, was arrested in May after police charged him with killing attorney Joseph Galfy, who was found bludgeoned to death in his house in Clark.

A spokesman for the prosecutor's office had previously said there had been considerable evidence that led police to McGillvary, including a video of him with the victim at a train station.

Lorraine Stanley, the public defender representing McGillvary, pled not guilty on his behalf before Judge Brenda Coppola Cuba. The source said the case would now go before a grand jury, which can typically take up to two months when dealing with a homicide charge.

McGillvary, a lanky redhead known to roam the streets with a large backpack, rocketed to fame on You Tube in February after he pulled out a hatchet and rescued a woman being threatened in Fresno, California.

He was arrested near a Greyhound bus terminal in Philadelphia on May 16 after a witness from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, contacted police and reported seeing Galfy with a man matching McGillvary's description, prosecutors said last month.

(The story corrects paragraph four to add dropped word "not".)

(Editing by Scott Malone, Toni Reinhold)