Bizarre behavior from Kai in attempted murder hearing

February 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Fresno County prosecutors forced testimony from a viral internet superstar Thursday. Kai, the home-free hitchhiker, displayed bizarre behavior as prosecutors pursued serious charges in an alleged attack on a PG&E worker.

The victim is still in a wheelchair after a driver allegedly crashed into him and attacked him -- all because of the color of his skin. Jett McBride is charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Kai's testimony was vulgar and he was difficult with the judge and attorneys, but he was also humorous and heartfelt. But the real fireworks came when PG&E worker Rayshawn Neely came face-to-face with his accused attacker for the first time since Neely was nearly killed.

Neely rolled into a position just below the witness stand to give testimony from his wheelchair in the case against the man accused of trying to kill him. Neely said he never saw the car coming before it hit him, and even after, he couldn't imagine he'd been targeted.

"I never thought it was ever, ever intentional," he said. "I was thinking drunk driver, dumb driver or you know, all of those other things, but I was never thinking like, 'Somebody's just out to get me.'"

But after the crash, witnesses say Jett McBride ran over to attack Neely, calling himself 'Jesus' and making racial slurs as he attacked the PG&E worker he'd just hit.

"The exact words he used were 'All the (expletives) have to go, have to die now,'" said witness Tonya Baker, who was the first to try and protect Neely.

Baker says McBride got her in a bear hug. That's when 15 minutes of fame started ticking for the man known as 'Kai.'

"He went over and he threw his arms real wide like this," said Caleb Lawrence McGillivary, who prefers to be called 'Kai'. "I could see he was going to grab her and I grabbed the tomahawk from inside that bag. I looked at him and I says, 'Get the (expletive) away from her.'"

'Kai' became an Internet sensation and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live after describing his hatchet-smashing efforts to save Baker and Neely. His oddball character was on full display inside the Fresno County courthouse from the moment he walked in and tried to give his own wrong-handed oath.

"Solemn affirmation," he said as he held up his left hand. "I will tell the whole truth, the truth and nothing but the truth."

"Just a moment," said Judge Gary Hoff. "Listen. Listen to the clerk as she states the oath to you so you can respond to it. And you only need one hand up. The right hand."

Kai was helpful at the scene of the crash on February 1, according to Baker. Neely never even saw him. But both victims agree the other PG&E workers were the real heroes who kept McBride from finishing what he started.

McBride himself seemed ashamed for his act, wiping away tears as Neely testified, and speaking just once in court -- as Neely rolled past on his way out.

"I'm sorry Rayshawn," he said.

Neely heard the apology but had no reaction. He says he's hoping to be back to work in three months, but he still has six very important broken bones in his leg.

McBride is facing 13 years in prison if he's convicted on all counts, but prosecutors could still claim the crime was premeditated and a hate crime, in which case McBride would face a life sentence.

'Kai' was forced to be here to take the stand, but he's free to go now.


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