Drifter convicted of murdering local attorney in his home

Caleb “Kai” McGillvary

A Union County jury has returned a guilty verdict against the Canadian hitchhiker who killed a prominent local attorney in his Clark home a little less than six years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Wednesday.

Caleb “Kai” McGillvary, 30, was convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the beating death of 73-year-old Joseph Galfy Jr. following several hours of jury deliberation spread over two days and a four-week trial before state Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch.

On Monday, May 13, 2013, Clark Police Department units responded to Galfy’s home on Starlight Drive in Clark to find the victim’s partially clothed body prone beside his bed, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Scott Peterson and Jillian Reyes, who prosecuted the case.

A rapidly unfolding investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, led by Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Johnny Ho and assisted by the Union County Sheriff’s Office and Clark Police Department, leveraged voluminous quantities of surveillance footage, digital cell phone data, and other forms of evidence to identify McGillvary as a suspect in the case, Peterson and Reyes said. McGillvary was arrested in Philadelphia three days after the killing when a barista working at a coffee shop there recognized him and contacted police.

The investigation revealed that the victim and defendant first met in New York City’s Times Square, about a day and a half before Galfy’s death. McGillvary claimed self-defense at trial, but Dr. Junaid Shaikh of the Division of the County Medical Examiner testified that the victim, who stood 5-foot-5, weighed 230 pounds, and had a stent in his chest due to a heart condition, sustained numerous serious blunt-force injuries to his face, head, neck, chest, and arms, including three skull fractures, four broken ribs, and severe contusions, abrasions, and bleeding – injuries that contradicted McGillvary’s self-defense claim. Furthermore, Peterson and Reyes highlighted a wide range of inconsistencies between the statement McGillvary gave to investigators shortly after his arrest and comments he made while testifying at trial, and also noted that McGillvary cut his long hair and fled the state after the murder.

Galfy had been a partner with the Rahway-based law firm of Kochanski, Baron and Galfy, PC, and was a military veteran who reached the rank of Major while serving in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1970.

“This was a brutal, vicious, senseless crime, and we are pleased that the interests of justice have been served,” Prosecutor Monahan said. “We sincerely thank the jury for their service and hope that today’s verdict brings some measure of solace to Mr. Galfy’s family, friends, and loved ones.”

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Thursday, June 13 before Judge Kirsch, at which time McGillvary will face a term of up to life in state prison.

In addition to the aforementioned assisting agencies, the Prosecutor’s Office also thanks the Philadelphia Police Department, New Jersey Transit Police Department, Delaware River Port Authority Police Department, and the municipal police departments in Cherry Hill and Deptford for their assistance in this investigation.