On July 30, 2008, passengers on a Greyhound Bus en route from Edmonton to Winnepeg, Canada, witnessed scenes that could have come from a horror movie when one of their fellow travelers violently attacked and beheaded the sleeping stranger sitting next to him with a large knife.
Vince Li, who has since changed his name to Will Baker, killed 22-year-old Tim McLean on the bus by cutting his head off with a large-bladed knife.
He later told investigators that after McLean smiled at him and asked how he was doing, he heard the voice of God telling him to kill McLean or “die immediately.” Baker, a diagnosed schizophrenic, then repeatedly stabbed and mutilated McLean before severing his head and displaying it to passengers on the bus — and also reportedly ate pieces of McLean’s flesh.
Police said McLean’s eyes and parts of his heart were missing, and according to authorities, were presumed to be eaten by Baker.
Baker had been a computer software engineer in Beijing, and worked a series of odd jobs at Grant Memorial Church for six months. He was reportedly estranged from his wife, Anna.
Baker was initially charged with second-degree murder, but ultimately found not criminally responsible for murdering McLean due to mental illness. At first, he was kept in a secure wing of a psychiatric hospital, but was given more freedom each year. In 2010, the institution applied to the courts to allow him a 15-minute walk each day under escort around a secure outdoor compound.
In 2016, he was discharged with some conditions, such as being supervised while taking his medication for schizophrenia, and being required to give his home address to medical personnel. Baker also had to undergo annual hearings to determine whether he continued to be a threat to the public.
In February 2017, Baker was granted complete freedom after Manitoba’s Criminal Code Review Board gave him an absolute discharge. The ruling means that Baker will no longer be subject to monitoring in order to ensure that he continues to take his medication. He now reportedly lives on his own in Winnipeg.
The ruling was met by anger and fear by many Canadians, who are afraid that he could not assume sole responsibility in managing his medication and mental illness. The family of Tim McLean agrees. At one of Baker’s hearings McLean’s mother Carol de Delley said that she opposes his release because there is no way to ensure he takes the anti-psychotic medication.
“What if he chooses to stop his medication again? In a nutshell, I don’t believe that should be his choice to make anymore,” she said. “A secure facility where he can continue to receive treatment for the rest of his natural life is where he belongs. Has everyone forgotten what he did to Timothy?”
According to McColl Magazine, the murder forever changed Greyhound Bus security in Canada. Today, the route through Western Canada reportedly has more security officers who observe passengers while boarding, and every carry-on bag is searched at every large depot and again everybody is observed in boarding, usually by a minimum two security guards who conduct a “wand sweep” for metal objects.
Main photo: Will Baker (a.k.a. Vince Li) [The National / YouTube (screenshot)]