The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker: who is Kai, what happened to him, where is he now - viral video explained

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The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker rose to fame with a viral internet video in 2013

Netflix kicks off 2023 with a true crime documentary detailing the rise and fall of Kai Lawrence.

Kai Lawrence, otherwise known as The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, shot to fame in 2013 when he told a local Fox News reporter about a bizarre hitchhiking incident that he had witnessed.

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At the time Lawrence was hitching a ride from a stranger named Jeff Simmon McBride and he told the story of how McBride attempted to attack a young woman shortly after the car incident.

Lawrence spoke candidly about smashing McBride multiple times, while defending the woman who had been attacked. The footage of the interview became an overnight sensation, thanks to the way he described the situation and amassed over nine million views on YouTube.

There were also multiple internet memes made following the interview and Lawrence’s account of the incident was even turned into a viral song on the internet.

For a time Lawrence was viewed as a hero for his brave act of defending the young woman. However, just three months later Lawrence’s reputation was destroyed as he was convicted of murder.

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Here’s what you can expect from the  Netflix documentary titled The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker and where Lawrence is now.

Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Kai Lawrence?

Kai Lawrence, later identified as Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, was a Canadian who went viral in February 2013 after being interviewed by a Fox News reporter in California.

Lawrence became an internet sensation after the interview but was charged with murder in May 2013.

Kai The Hatchet Wielding Hitchiker will arrive on Netflix this month. (Netflix)Kai The Hatchet Wielding Hitchiker will arrive on Netflix this month. (Netflix)
Kai The Hatchet Wielding Hitchiker will arrive on Netflix this month. (Netflix) | Netflix

How Kai Lawrence rose to fame

Kai Lawrence recounts that he had been hitchhiking and was picked up by a man called Jett Simmons McBride. Lawrence describes McBride as a man who claimed he was Jesus Christ.

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During their journey, Lawrence claimed that McBride collided with another vehicle. At this point McBride went on to attack an eye witness who was a young woman. Sensing the woman’s life was in danger, Lawrence removes a hatchet from his backpack and starts repeatedly striking McBride on the back of the head in an attempt to protect the young woman.

During the interview which took place on Fox News, Lawrence describes the hatchet blows by shouting out the words: “Smash, Smash, Smash” this part of the video imploded on the internet and became a viral meme attracting millions of viewers.

What happened to Kai The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker?

Just three months after going viral on the internet, Lawrence fell into the headlines for all the wrong reasons when he was convicted of the murder of 73-year-old New Jersey attorney Joseph Galfy.

During the trial Lawrence maintained that he had fought Galfy in self defence and claimed that he was drugged. After the murder charges the original video from February returned into the public spotlight and reached an even larger audience.

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Where is Kai Lawrence now?

Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker was sentenced to 57 years in prison following the trial.

He is currently still serving time in prison and according to AP news he lost his bid in 2021 to overturn his murder conviction.

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