Bus beheader seeks passes from hospital

Vince Li was sent to the Selkirk Mental Health Centre in 2008 after he was found not criminally responsible in the beheading death of fellow Greyhound bus passenger Tim McLean near Portage la Prairie, Man.
Vince Li has been living in a mental hospital in Selkirk, Man., since being found not criminally responsible for beheading Tim McLean in March 2009. (John Woods/Canadian Press)
Tim McLean, 22, was on his way home to Winnipeg when he was slain on a Greyhound bus in 2008. (Family photo)

Crown prosecutors are not opposed to allowing Vince Li escorted passes from the Selkirk Mental Health Centre.

Li was sent to the mental hospital in 2008 after he was found not criminally responsible in the beheading death of fellow Greyhound bus passenger Tim McLean near Portage la Prairie, Man.

Monday, a psychiatrist who has been treating Li asked the Manitoba's Review Board to allow Li to take escorted trips into the community of Selkirk, north of Winnipeg with two escorts. Dr. Steve Kremer said Li has responded well to his treatment and understands he has schizophrenia.

The Crown did not object to the recommendation at Monday's hearing.

Li's doctors also recommended that he should be allowed to be generally supervised on the hospital grounds, rather than one-one-one supervision.

The board reserved its decision and is expected to make a determination within a couple of days.

Li was initially kept inside a locked wing of the mental hospital. But after an annual review of his treatment in 2010, Li started being granted short, supervised walks on the hospital grounds.

Last year, the Manitoba Review Board decided to gradually increase those walks to several hours.

McLean's mom, Carol DeDelley, said she is traumatized she has to go through another review board hearing.

"It’s ridiculously difficult. I don't believe review boards should exist in cases of NCR [not criminally responsible] killings. I think if a person is that deficient, they should never be free," she said.

She still hasn't been able to return to work since her son was killed four years ago.

"Each year when we go, I am terrified for what they are going to give him this year — whether it's going to be more liberties and longer walks or if they are going to let him free all together."

Barricaded in bus

McLean, a carnival worker, was returning home to Winnipeg on the bus from Edmonton. Listening to his iPod while sitting in the back row of Greyhound bus 1170, he gave Li a friendly greeting as the stranger sat down beside him.

RCMP officers investigate the killing of Tim McLean, 22, onboard a Greyhound bus in Manitoba on July 30, 2008. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

Then, around 8:30 p.m. CT, when the bus was near Portage La Prairie, Man., Li pulled a buck knife from his side and began stabbing McLean — for no apparent reason, witnesses said. After passengers fled the bus, by then on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway, Li was barricaded inside the vehicle.

During the stabbing, Li was heard to say, "get emergency." During the five-hour standoff, he walked around the bus carrying the severed head in one hand, the knife in the other.

At one point, he threw McLean's head into the bus's stairwell.

Around 1:30 a.m., Li attempted to jump from a bus window and was grabbed by police. When he was subdued, Li repeatedly said he was sorry but could not say what he was sorry for, officers said.

He told police he had changed his name to Vince Day. And he said, "I'm guilty, please kill me."

Psychiatrists testified at his trial that Li was schizophrenic and suffering a major psychotic episode at the time of the killing.