Greyhound beheader Vince Li, AKA “Will Baker” released without conditions

Remembering Tim McLean, killed on a Greyhound bus by Vince Li, AKA Will Baker. Click for NP.

Remembering Tim McLean, killed on a Greyhound bus by Vince Li, AKA Will Baker. Click for NP.

Remember the name Will Baker everyone because he is the Greyhound bus beheader, previously known as Vince Li, who has just been released from custody without any conditions whatsoever.

How could that happen? It could happen because Li/Baker was found “not criminally responsible“(NCR) for beheading Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus in July 2008 at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. See McLean in photo to the left.

And, it is that “NCR” finding that is the problem because the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1999 that anyone found not criminally responsible could be released without conditions “if” they were not deemed dangerous by a Review Board.

Well, the Manitoba Criminal Code Review Board granted Li/Baker that release yesterday.

Why did that Review Board come to such a conclusion? Because, the Global News link indicates, his doctor, Jeffrey Waldman, “…told the board earlier this week that he is confident Baker will remain on his medication and will continue to work with his treatment team if released.”

Waldman also  “…testified that Baker knows it’s the medication that keeps his illness at bay.” Think about that. “It’s the medication that keeps his illness at bay.”

Yes, I have compassion for people with mental illness. In fact, I am a former special needs counsellor and therapist who helped many people with mental difficulties manage their symptoms and achieve success in life — but through learning and cognitive strategies, not medication.

Which causes me to wonder what Li/Baker will do with his time on his own. Will he stay in close touch with his health team? Will he have a job or meaningful activities? And, what will happen when and if he travels to China, which allegedly is his long term plan? Will he, for example, continue to have access to his medication in China? Or, once away from his team, will he start hearing voices again?

Anyway, regardless of a person’s mental illness, we have to stop making excuses for taking the life of another. Killing someone has consequences, or should have consequences. In the past, before medications became available, anyone found “NCR” for murder had to be hospitalized for life. At the very least, should Li/Baker not have been given the condition that taking his medication had to be supervised.

What about the victim in this case? Has the justice system forgotten him? The horrible reality is that McLean, Li/Baker’s victim is never coming back to his family. Plus, the horror that young man must have experienced is unimaginable. Killed in cold blood. Decapitated as he sat quietly in his Greyhound bus seat.

The crux of the matter is that the Manitoba Criminal Review Board has allowed Vince Li/Will Baker, who was found “NCR” for killing McLean in cold blood, to be released without any conditions even though he requires medication to maintain equilibrium. They also allowed Vince Li to use the anonymous name Will Baker, presumably so he won’t be discriminated against.

Truly, we live in an upside down world when the rights of people like Li/Baker are prioritized over the safety and well being of the general public.





9 thoughts on “Greyhound beheader Vince Li, AKA “Will Baker” released without conditions

  1. And it’s not “if he goes off his meds”, it’s “if he goes off his meds AGAIN”. We forget that this man was a diagnosed schizophrenic and was supposed to be taking medication before ever he got on the bus. He may have good intentions, but will he be able to stick to the regime?


  2. An old childhood friend of mine suffered from schizophrenia, his family suffered for decades, never knowing where he was or what he was doing.Thankfully, he wasn’t violent, but often suicidal,cops brought him down off a major highway bridge one time I know of, but his biggest failing was his inability to stay ON the meds. A psychiatrist said they get to the point where they believe they are “cured” and quit taking their meds,then inevitably,they go off the rails and usually end up in jail or the psych ward of the hospital. The tragedy of of my friend was that he had a genius level IQ and was a Master chess player,when he was normal.

    CSC seems to have adopted a policy since the 1980’s of releasing convicts as soon as they are not determined to be a danger to the public. I can see the sense of that policy in regard to the petty lowlife type of criminal who make up the majority of inmates, as the only danger they pose is to themselves, but when psychiatry enters into the equation,I have little faith in their assessment and subsequent release of a prisoner. I often wonder if cost of incarceration isn’t more of an issue than the possibility of recidivism.

    Psychiatry isn’t a science,and in it’s practice there is a huge margin for error, with egotistical Psychiatrists debating one another endlessly over the nature of the patient’s condition. Too often we have seen equally qualified psychiatrists,one for the Defence,one for the Prosecution, 180 degrees opposed to the diagnosis of the other Doctor. Then we are supposed to respect their opinions as experts!

    We had a headline case here in B.C. a few years ago that descended into farce,when the two opposing psychiatrists argued for two weeks over whether the perpetrator was a paranoid schizophrenic,or a psychotic with paranoia and schizophrenic tendencies. The case became a joke among both law enforcement and the media. The difference of opinion cost us taxpayers hugely. We had another case where the esteemed psychiatrist,a man I knew personally, known at the time as ” B.C.’s leading expert on Munchausen syndrome by proxy”, admitted to the defence lawyer ,on the witness stand,that he had actually never seen a case of said syndrome!

    The whole Province laughed.

    We had another terrible tragedy here in B.C. a few years back when a Father murdered his four beautiful little children as he was divorcing his wife and believed he’d never see them again. He fled the crime scene,there was a massive manhunt for him, and he was found walking down a bush road by a hunter,who fortunately for the perpetrator was not ME! He was declared NCR,and psychiatrists decided after EIGHTEEN MONTHS incarceration,he was no longer a danger to the public! There was a huge outcry by the community and they revoked their day pass release plans.I believe the man is still in custody,but maybe, to protect his privacy,he changed his name and is out, the public is the last to know.

    Li committed a horrendous crime, he should not have been released,and there is a very good chance if left off the system’s radar with good behaviour for a few months, he will decide he’s “cured”.

    To sum up in a few words; I disagree with the experts.


  3. I totally agree with you Don. We have seen this many times since all the mental hospitals have shut down. There are people who can survive and thrive on their own and there are some who can not. Not just the Vince Li’s—-people have went off medication and froze to death due to mental illness—others hit by cars due to not taking their pills and so on. Short story is THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE CLOSED MENTAL HOMES—HOSPITAL FOR SICK BODY’S AND HOSPITAL FOR SICK MINDS!!!!


    • Roxanna, the mental hospitals were closed down simply because of the huge cost of keeping them operating. This is not speculation,my Sister,who is a psychologist, was a member of a Provincial commission whose purpose was to close down the mental institutions and find an alternative that was palatable to the public. She said the reason was cost,period.

      Their recommendation after several months study,was to hire private contractors, much like social services does with foster children. Each contractor was to provide accommodation and food and professional individual care. Many of the contractors simply bought old,multiple room houses and converted them into rooming houses. Of course,due to the scarcity of mental health professionals and their cost, not much was done for the patients mental health,they were simply housed and fed.

      My Sister was on the Commission that oversaw the facilities. She told me the first accusations of patient abuse started within the first month of the program’s operation. But there was no going back,as most of the buildings were either torn down or used for other purposes.

      Here in B.C. one of the biggest MH facilities was closed, torn down and expensive condos were built on the land.
      The land many of those facilities were built on was rural when they were first established,but now were on prime development land,worth millions. The closure was depicted by the government as “family reunification” by the Health Minister. The fact that families were not able to look after the special needs of the patients was steamrollered over if anyone dared suggest it. The government made millions, the patients went into the street.

      The truest saying extant is: “follow the money”.

      The Downtown East Side of Vancouver looked like Dicken’s tales of Bedlam,with totally dysfunctional people laying about on the streets by the hundreds. I’m not making this up,I worked construction on a couple of “drop-in” centers for these people in the early 90’s,right down in the DES. I couldn’t believe the misery I was seeing. I wrote letters to both newspapers at the time,I believe they printed them. And there was an investigation by BCTV that didn’t accomplish anything as the government of the day sidestepped the issue,and subsequent governments of all political stripes have done so ever since.

      The governments of every Province in Canada made a cynical decision back in the 1980’s to dump one of the biggest costs of the health care system, mental health facilities,secure in the knowledge that the mentally ill are the most helpless people in our society,unable to lobby or vote in blocks.

      To this day,when I hear one of the political Leaders expound on how they “care” about our “unfortunates and most vulnerable”,I just about gag, knowing full well how they threw our truly most vulnerable into the streets without a care or thought. No government anywhere will ever undertake to rebuild the mental health care and the facilities we need,it is simply too expensive. And WE have to live with the consequences of a Vince Li or Dwayne Schoenborn.

      Friends wonder why I’m so cynical when it comes to politicians.This subject is one of the main reasons.


  4. Also agree with much of what Don Morris said. Mental illness is a tragedy and I like many have a lot of sympathy for those with it, but deciding when someone is ready to be released or not is a very inexact science. Maybe it was or maybe it wasn’t the right decision, but the real danger is if he goes off his meds then he might re-offend. Not a lawyer or criminal law expert, but I wonder is there anyways to ensure he stays on his meds? That seems to be the issue here. Tough question and I will admit it is not my area of expertise so I am sort of torn as I have a lot of sympathy for the person who lost their life unnecessarily, but also those with mental illnesses too. I do feel that as a society the stigma of mental illness has led to far too many not seeking treatment. I believe if there was less social stigma towards it and more done here, not only would help on crime rates, but also on social safety net costs as most homeless and many on welfare have mental health issues.


  5. Yes, this is release is wrong, as wrong as it gets. How much do Charter right figure in such decisions? Prior to the Charter would this person have been freed to live among us? He is still mentally ill, the public is endangered if he ever decides or forgets to take his medication.. I’m assuming we can’t even know where this sick person is going to live.

    This calls for a country wide petition to fight this, what he did was too horrible to comprehend.


  6. Off his meds, he’s a demonstrated murderer. Now he gets to manage his personal treatment, to self-equilibrate, without confirmation of this imperative to his societal fitness?

    This seems a reckless decision, putting the risk on society after letting this heinous perpetrator free and clear less than 10 years since his crime?

    If this goes wrong, the facilitators of these questionable imho decisions must know there is are consequences for negligent errors. We have to fix this; society owes it to itself.

    If all goes well, count yourselves lucky. If not, be prepared for a public review and legal/career action arising out of the effects of their arrogance at deciding the dividing line between criminally responsible behaviour and that which is not, to greatly lighten a criminal sentence.

    Canadians are going to keep an eye on this one, make no mistake, surely.


  7. Pingback: Mistake? « Jack's Newswatch

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