Man in bus beheading to be held in hospital

Thu Jun 4, 2009 5:44pm EDT
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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (Reuters) - A mentally ill man who beheaded, then cannibalized, a fellow bus passenger last year will be confined to a secure ward in a mental hospital, a Canadian legal panel ordered late Wednesday.

A judge ruled in March that Vince Weiguang Li could not be held responsible for the second-degree murder of a sleeping passenger near the western city of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, because he suffered from a major mental illness.

The Manitoba Criminal Review Board ruled that even though Li had not been found guilty by the court, he remained too much of a danger to be allowed to go free.

"The review board is of the opinion that Mr. Li is a significant threat to the safety of the public," John Stefaniuk, chairman of the Manitoba board wrote in his decision.

The board ordered that Li must be escorted by two hospital staff any time he leaves the locked ward of the hospital and by two police officers if he's required to leave the hospital.

In July 2008 Li killed a sleeping Timothy McLean by stabbing him dozens of times in the back and chest as the Greyhound bus headed east on the TransCanada Highway.

Later he held up the victim's severed head and, as horrified police watched from outside the bus, continued to mutilate the body and eat some of the remains.

The review board has not released reasons for its decision, which must be reviewed at least annually.

Dr. Stanley Yaren, the only witness for the prosecution, had testified that Li said he heard voices from God in his head telling him to kill McLean. He described Li as a "decent person" suffering from untreated schizophrenia, with a strong chance of recovery.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel; editing by Rob Wilson)

<p>Vince Weiguang Li (L), suspect in the murder of Tim McLean aboard a Greyhound bus in Manitoba, is escorted by sheriff officers on his way to a court appearance in Portage la Prairie August 5, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Greenslade</p>