Man who beheaded Greyhound bus passenger should get more freedom: psychiatrist

The Canadian Press
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WINNIPEG — A man who beheaded and then ate parts of a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus almost six years ago might soon be granted unescorted day trips outside his mental hospital.

Vince Li’s psychiatrist says the one-time undiagnosed schizophrenic has not been violent, no longer suffers delusions and has made tremendous progress.

“From a clinical perspective, he has progressed excellently,” Dr. Steven Kremer told a Criminal Code Review Board hearing Monday.

Every year the board examines the conditions imposed on Li.

“Our overall goal is to eventually have Mr. Li reintegrate into the community.”

Li, 46, was found not criminally responsible for stabbing and beheading Tim McLean, a young carnival worker, in July 2008.

The two men were strangers when Li sat next to McLean on a bus ride from Edmonton to Winnipeg. Li’s attack was unprovoked — he said he heard voices telling him to kill McLean. The bus stopped and horrified passengers fled as Li carved up McLean’s body and ate parts of it.

Li was initially kept inside a locked wing of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre 24 hours a day. Each year he has been granted more freedom, such as escorted day passes to Winnipeg, Lockport and nearby beaches.

On Monday, Li’s psychiatric team asked for Li to be given three new privileges:

— Unescorted day passes into Selkirk.

— Relocation from the hospital’s locked ward to an unlocked ward.

— Relaxed supervision during escorted trips into Winnipeg and Lockport. Instead of having a dedicated escort, Li would be one of three patients supervised by one hospital staff member.

Li, dressed in a leather jacket and black dress pants, was quiet throughout the hearing, with his head bowed for much of the time. He appeared to be paying close attention and thanked his lawyer and psychiatrist as sheriff’s officers handcuffed him and led him out of the room.

Crown attorney Susan Helenchilde did not oppose the changes, noting that Li has co-operated with hospital staff at all times.

“Mr. Li has done everything that has been asked of him.”

The victim’s mother, however, said Li should remain locked up for life.

“I don’t think it should matter whether you’re mentally ill or not mentally ill. If you kill someone, you should lose your freedom, period,” DeDelley said outside the hearing.

“I’m standing out here by my damn self for six years now, and they’re going to ultimately let this person free. And if he reoffends, (they’ll say), ’Oh well, statistically it shouldn’t happen’. But guess what? It does, and it does and it does.”

DeDelley has fought to toughen the laws governing people found not criminally responsible for killings. She has a website that tracks cases in which people with the designation have been rearrested or convicted on new charges.

The review board said it will render its decision within a week.

Organizations: Selkirk Mental Health Centre 24

Geographic location: Winnipeg, Lockport, Edmonton

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Recent comments

  • jim
    February 28, 2014 - 13:54

    The psychiatrist that said this man should be let out on unsupervised visits, should be made to take this man to his home to life on a permanent basis

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 25, 2014 - 11:41

    "The bus stopped and horrified passengers fled as Li carved up McLean’s body and ate parts of it." Remember this line about a famous shark movie....Just when you thought it was safe to take another bus.... da dumb...da dumb....da dumb.........(I figured dumb was the more appropriate word). So after a mere 5 years some bleeding heart psychiatrist feels this individual should be allowed out into the general public after the heinous act he committed. I have a suggestion...let the court mandate that this individual be appointed to act as a chauffeur, gardener, pool boy or personal assistant to this wacko psychiatrist and see just how comfortable he truly is with his decision! Nothing like waking up in the morning to breakfast served to you in bed by your personal assistant only to find out that his idea for breakfast may include YOU!!!

  • noodle
    February 25, 2014 - 09:45

    In a psychotic stupor he murdered, dismembered, and ate parts of an innocent bystander in front of dozens of horrified witnesses who are now damaged for life. While I understand Li was not coherent at the time, at issue here is the ability of this man to recognize his psychosis when it's happening and to take action to prevent being a danger to others. He wasn't able to do this before and a young man died in the worst possible way. The only thing preventing him from possibly doing the same again is a few pills. If he is left to his own devices where is the guarantee he will take his meds? There are many disastrous cases of schizophrenics going off their meds because they don't like the side effects and feel they can control their illnesses. In my mind the greater onus is to protect the public at large and this man should never be allowed to go unchecked for the rest of his life, and if that means somebody has to feed him his meds every single day, then so be it.

  • Sudbury Saturday Night
    February 25, 2014 - 08:31

    Its amazing that a "psychiatric team" has devalued human life to the point that this person is considered OK to generally rengage with society. Essentially if you let this type of thing go on with out permanent and exremely severe consequences for their own lives, the rest of society descends into a state of no real value. The person committing the act, in fact, has more value than the person they killed and they will be kept alive by the rest of society at there own expense until they die of natural causes. Its just so sad that life in most of the modern world isn't valued as highly as we value trying to save the life of someone that has proved by there actions that they see or hear that otherss lives are not worth the same value. It doesn't matter if your sick with an illness, diagnosed or not, off your meds or not, that is no excuse for not being held completely responsable for ones actions. And until society gets their head around that concept that they have to acept responsability for their own actions the general poplulation will never be able to enjoy the value in their lives that they are entiltled to.

  • Joan
    February 25, 2014 - 07:54

    you can't be serious, this is why the world is the way it is today you have taken a life in such a way its unthinkable and then after 6 years you should be allowed such freedoms. What about the victim, people seem to forget them all to quickly. I don't agree with this at all