Jury deliberates fate of Jett McBride

FRESNO, Calif.

McBride puts much of the blame for the incident on his passenger, a hitchhiker he picked up known as "Kai."

Kai's real name is Caleb McGillvery. He did not testify because he's in jail in New Jersey on murder charges.

The prosecution used Kai's past statements and testimony in earlier proceedings to try and persuade the jury of McBride's guilt, while McBride's attorney Scott Baley tried to turn the tables.

Baley told the jury Kai's statements about what happened on February 1st of last year, when Jett McBride's car veered into a PG&E truck and hit Neely can't be believed.

"He holds himself out as a hero. He had his seven seconds of fame. The truth is he cannot be trusted." Baley said.

McGillvery gained that fame by claiming he stopped McBride from hurting more people by smashing him in the head with a hatchet. Baley disputed that.

Baley said, "The truth is he is an axe swinging pot smoking drifter who is trying to avoid blame."

McBride testified he picked up Kai hitchhiking near Bakersfield. He said once in Fresno, Kai provided him with potent marijuana. He said the accident involving the PG&E workers was caused when Kai hit him in the head while he was driving, then he claimed Kai grabbed the steering wheel.

But prosecuting attorney Becky Gong argued Kai was accurate when he testified in a previous hearing that McBride was delusional and believed he was Jesus Christ, and she noted witnesses saw McBrides hands firmly on the steering wheel when he hit Neely.

"So again what Mr. McGillevery tells you is corroborated, I submit to you his statements are truthful and accurate given the other evidence you have." Gong told the jury.

But Baley used the fact that McBride claimed he was Jesus, and had a variety of other bizarre delusions as evidence he didn't know what he was doing.

Baley explained, "You are here today to decide whether he wilfully intended to hit other people other people with his car and what he intended to do, all goes on with what was going on inside of his head."

But Gong countered what was going on in McBride's head, doesn't change the facts.

Gong said, "Nobody drives a car into another individual, causing that kind of damage and you can see the physical evidence, without intending to kill that person."

The jury had only a couple of hours to deliberate on Friday. They adjourned without reaching a verdict and will resume deliberations on Monday.

If they find McBride guilty, then another proceeding will be held to determine if he was insane when the crime occurred. If they find he was insane he could be sent to a mental hospital instead of prison.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.