Netflix’s newest true crime documentary The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker delves deep into the unusual and tragic life story of Caleb “Kai” Lawrence McGillvary, a person who rose to web stardom after an interview he gave on an area Fresno information station went viral in 2013. Nevertheless it solely mentions in passing the story of Jett McBride, the person who picked up McGillvary when he was hitchhiking in February 2013, and who was arrested for driving his automobile right into a utility employee.
If he hadn’t met McBride, McGillvary would possibly by no means have risen to fame — as a result of it was on McBride that McGillvary wielded his well-known hatchet.
On that February day in 2013, McGillvary was sitting within the again seat when McBride drove right into a parked utility car, pinning a utility employee between the 2 vehicles.
In line with McGillvary’s statements concerning the incident within the Netflix documentary, he had smoked a marijuana joint with McBride and the 2 have been beneath the affect when McBride started claiming that he was Jesus Christ, uttering racist statements in opposition to the Black group, and suggesting that he might drive straight via a utility car on the facet of the street. After the crash, McGillvary mentioned a girl rushed over to the automobile and was making an attempt to assist them when McBride acquired out of the automobile and commenced to bodily assault the lady.
However McBride’s legal professional on the time, Scott Baly, provides one other perspective on his former shopper.
Chatting with MovieMaker, Baly first urged a correction a couple of piece of knowledge in The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker. He says a press release proven on the finish of the documentary saying that McBride was “discovered responsible of assault with a lethal weapon and sentenced to 9 years in a psychological well being facility” was incorrect.
Additionally Learn: 7 Issues You Would possibly Not Know About Kai The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker
“The nine-year factor was inaccurate,” he instructed MovieMaker. “If they’d requested me, I might have mentioned, ‘Don’t say that.’”
He clarified that McBride was discovered not responsible by purpose of madness, and that he was ordered to spend time at Atascadero State Hospital, however that he in the end solely served roughly 4 to 5 years. Although Baly couldn’t recall precisely when McBride was launched again into society, he believes he was out by 2019. He additionally confirmed that McBride is at the moment a free man.
We requested Baly whether or not he believes that McGillvary could have laced the marijuana joint that he and McBride shared. Within the documentary, a musician who carried out at a present with McGillvary says that he heard McGillvary declare to have given McBride a marijuana joint laced with stronger medication on the day he hitchhiked with him.
“I doubt it’s true,” Baly mentioned. “Something’s potential. The difficulty is, something he [McGillvary] says is simply unreliable.”
Baly additionally shared some extra background on McBride and McGillvary’s drive earlier than they encountered the utility employee.
“As I recall, they’d been driving via Bakersfield and so they stopped to get fuel and Caleb was in a position to safe the marijuana from an individual promoting the joint in a short time, very simply. I believe that Jett offered money of $20 or one thing to get the joint and Caleb was the one which was in a position to purchase it,” Baly mentioned.
“They did pull over to smoke it sooner or later, and from all descriptions, they did really feel fairly excessive. Whether or not he laced it — I imply, he might have laced it,” he added. “It’s a type of issues that’s potential. However they did appear fairly stoned, I assume greater than you’d count on, as a result of the way in which McBride — the impact it had on McBride was not insignificant. He was fairly out of character and his conduct was fairly weird that day.”
To be clear, the documentary notes that checks have been completed on McBride after the incident and they didn’t point out the presence of some other drug in his system that day moreover marijuana.
“McBride was an fascinating man. He was in a position to be — he was employed at instances. He was a productive dude, however had undiagnosed psychological sickness,” Baly mentioned. “We by no means noticed that he had been held earlier than, 5150’d earlier than, or ever been concerned in something to this extent.”
Additionally Learn: So Why Did Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker Have a Hatchet, Anyway?
He believes that McBride’s psychological well being prognosis on the time of the incident with McGillvary was bipolar dysfunction.
“Even when he offered himself in court docket, he offered himself nicely, however he had some weird perception system — he talked about being watched in a wierd approach,” Baly mentioned. “Regardless that he’s making an attempt to current himself as a sane fellow, stuff sort of comes via the cracks. You could possibly see it there.”
He believes McBride actually was affected by a psychological dysfunction when he hit the utility employee.
“By the point we acquired to the top, it seemed fairly actual — that he wasn’t faking it, he wasn’t making it up,” Baly mentioned.
Baly additionally mentioned that McBride’s declare that he was Jesus Christ is “a fairly frequent delusion for folks affected by psychosis.”
However he doesn’t consider McBride to be a foul particular person, and famous that he displayed fairly a little bit of regret at his trial for hitting the utility employee. He additionally mentioned McBride disputed having focused the utility employee due to his race, and insisted that he hadn’t seen him when he hit him along with his automobile.
“I keep in mind on the [prelimary hearing] and once more on the trial, when he noticed the PG&E employee as he left and he noticed him in a wheelchair, McBride sort of cried, and he mentioned, ‘I’m so sorry,’” Baly recalled.
So the place is McBride as we speak? Baly doesn’t know.
“He’s a great man. I talked to him on the telephone a pair years in the past,” he mentioned. However Baly has “no concept the place he’s” now — simply that his case is now closed.
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is now streaming on Netflix.
Caleb “Kai” Lawrence McGillvary giving an interview after hitchhiking with Jett McBride in 2013. Courtesy of Netflix.