Kai was neither hero nor did he cause crash, witnesses say

The Internet sensation Kai is both the prosecution's star witness and a scapegoat for the defense in a Fresno attempted murder trial
December 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The Internet sensation Kai is both the prosecution's star witness and a scapegoat for the defense in a Fresno attempted murder trial, but PG&E workers poked holes in both theories Tuesday.

Jett McBride's intentions were clear to witnesses who saw him crash into a PG&E crew doing work at Marks and McKinley this February. They say his own words gave him away as he rushed towards Rayshawn Neely, the man he'd just pinned between his own car and a bucket truck from the electric company.

"He said 'I am God. I am Jesus. I was sent here to take all the {racial slurs} to heaven,'" Nick Starkey said he heard McBride say.

Not everyone heard the racial slurs aimed at Neely, though. Sitting in a wheelchair at a court hearing weeks later, Neely said he never heard it. McBride apologized to Neely that day, but he has said from the start that a hitchhiker in his car jerked the wheel and forced his car into the PG&E crew.

That's not what the crew members saw, though. Three of them say they saw McBride steadily aiming the car at Neely. "His left hand would be ten o'clock, his right hand would be about the two o'clock position on the steering wheel," Nelson Pereira said.

The hitchhiker briefly rose to stardom after his own description of the incident. The man who called himself Kai said he smashed McBride over the head with a hatchet to free a woman who had rushed in to help Neely. The hatchet attack bloodied McBride, but he kept trying to reach Neely.

Starkey and another man eventually got him to the ground and held him down, and cell phone video from the scene shows law enforcement keeping him there. Meanwhile, other PG&E employees had to corral Kai and his weapon.

"He was swinging [his hatchet] at shoulder level at anybody that would try to come at him," Starkey said.

Kai won't appear in court for McBride's trial because he's jailed on murder charges of his own in New Jersey. His testimony from an earlier hearing will be read to the jury later this week.


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