Freedom granted to man who beheaded passenger on Greyhound bus
A man who was found not criminally responsible for beheading and cannibalizing a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus has been granted his freedom.
Manitoba's Criminal Code Review Board has given Will Baker, formerly known as Vince Li, an absolute discharge, meaning he is no longer subject to monitoring.
Baker, a diagnosed schizophrenic, killed Tim McLean, a young carnival worker who was a complete stranger to Baker, in 2008.
Baker was initially kept in a secure wing of a psychiatric hospital but was given more freedom every year.
He has been living on his own in a Winnipeg apartment since November, but was still subject to monitoring to ensure he took his medication.
His doctor told the review board earlier this week that Baker has been a good patient and knows the importance of continuing to take his medication.
In a written decision, the review board said it "is of the opinion that the weight of evidence does not substantiate that Mr. Baker poses a significant threat to the safety of the public."
Alan Libman, Baker’s lawyer, said his client is pleased with the decision. He said Baker intends to continue to do the things he did before the absolute discharge, including routine visits with mental health workers and he will continue his medication.
Libman said life for Baker will not change.
“He’s very intelligent, sincere, kind man. He feels absolutely terrible about what happened,” said Libman. “He’s committed to doing everything he needs to do to continue to live a law-abiding life and stay healthy.”
Tim McLean's mother, Carol de Delley, who has spoken out against granting Li an absolute discharge, shared the news on Facebook, adding that she has "no words."
Manitoba MP James Bezan said he’s “disappointed” by the board’s decision.
Although Baker has made a remarkable recovery, Bezan said he worries about what could happen now that Baker is no longer required to submit for testing.
“I would agree that as long as Vince Li is taking all of his medications, that the last eight years, he’s proven that he is in the proper frame of mind to function in society,” he said. “What if he goes off his medications? What if he stops seeing his psychiatrists? What is the recourse for the courts, and there isn’t any.”
Chris Summerville, the executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, said people shouldn't be afraid of Baker.
“He himself has expressed that he knows that he has a responsibility, not only to himself, but to the public, to take care of himself physically and mentally, and to do the things that he’s learned over the years to manage his mental health.”
With files from CTV’s Jill Macyshon and The Canadian Press