Charged with second-degree murder in the horrific death of Tim McLean, 22, aboard a Greyhound bus bound for Winnipeg, Vince Weiguang Li, 40, has now made two brief court appearances and been sent for psychiatric assessment.

From these appearances and from what acquaintances and co-workers have said about him during his seven years in Canada, a still very sketchy picture is emerging of a man who worked at menial jobs, mostly kept to himself and, at least on certain occasions, had problems dealing with family and co-workers.

vincent-li-cp-220-152458

Vince Li, appearing in court in Portage La Prairie, Man., on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008, to face second-degree murder charges in the death of Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus. ((John Woods/Canadian Press))

According to the Crown attorney in Brandon, Man., Li's former partner, Anna, said he had a habit of taking bus trips with no apparent destination. The Crown is also looking into information that he may have spent four days in a psychiatric institution.

His next court date is set for Sept. 8, 2008.

2001 Li arrives in Canada from Beijing with his common-law wife, Anna, and lives in Winnipeg for nearly five years, court was told on Aug. 5, 2008. It is not clear whether it was Li or Anna who qualified for entry under Canada's federal skilled worker program. 

2001–2004 Nothing known at this point as to what Li did during his first years in Canada.

October/November 2004 Shows up at Grant Memorial Baptist Church in Winnipeg looking for work and is hired as a night custodian. Stays there for about six months.

Summer 2005 Li takes a job as a forklift operator for Midland Foods on Nairn Ave. in Winnipeg. His wife is working in restaurants and begins attending Grant Memorial Church on her own, according to Tom Castor, the minister at Grant Memorial.  

2006 Vince Li leaves his wife and moves to Edmonton.

2007 At some point in 2007, Li is granted Canadian citizenship, court was told. That means he had been living and working in Canada for at least three years without incident.

July 2007–April 2008 Works for an Edmonton distribution company delivering newspapers.

In Edmonton, Li lived in a 300-square-foot basement apartment at 8322 Jasper Ave. and then a larger 16th-floor apartment in a building nearby, on 90th Street near Jasper, the CBC found.

January to June 2008 Works at the Clairview mall Wal-Mart in Edmonton as a janitor, mechanic and later as a cashier. Mostly kept to himself, though staff there said he was let go after a disagreement with a fellow employee, the Edmonton Journal reported.

July 2008 Returns to his newspaper delivery job.

Morning of July 28, 2008 Li delivers his last set of newspapers.

Midnight of July 28 In Edmonton, boards Greyhound bus bound for Winnipeg.

July 29, around 6 p.m. Li gets off the bus in Erickson, Man., with at least three pieces of luggage. He spends a long time in M&M Grocery store and then, according to one witness, passes the night on a park bench.

Morning of July 30 From the park bench, he sells his new laptop computer to a 15-year-old boy for $60; Li tosses in the computer bag for free. He spends most of the afternoon in an alley beside the grocery store.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Li boards the fateful bus heading to Winnipeg, which is carrying Tim McLean and 35 other passengers.

July 30, 7 p.m.  Greyhound bus arrives in Brandon, where the driver gives passengers extra time to eat. 

July 30, 7:30 p.m. Bus departs Brandon with the movie Zorro playing on the bus TV screens.

July 30, 9 p.m. (approx.) Attack takes place about 10 kilometres east of Portage La Prairie, Man.

According to some of those on board, the bus driver ushered all the other passengers out of the bus while the attack was taking place and disabled the bus so it could not be driven away.

July 31, 1:38 a.m. Li allegedly broke a window on the bus, threw out a knife and scissors and then jumped out. He was immediately arrested by the RCMP.

Aug. 5 In a brief court appearance, Li's only words were to ask the judge "Please, kill me." He has so far refused legal help and has been ordered to have a psychiatric assessment.