Man accused of beheading on bus pleads not guilty
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – A man accused of beheading and cannibalizing a passenger on a Greyhound bus apologized to police when he was arrested and begged officers to kill him. The details emerged Tuesday as Vince Li faced his murder trial by pleading not guilty.
The Chinese immigrant is being tried on second-degree murder charges in the death of Tim McLean, a 22-year-old carnival worker who was killed in what passengers described as a random, horrific attack.
"I'm sorry. I'm guilty. Please kill me," Li said in a statement of facts agreed to by both the prosecution and defense.
But Li delivered his not guilty plea to the court in a loud, clear voice.
Li's lawyers are not disputing that he killed McLean, but they argue Li was mentally ill and not criminally responsible. A psychiatrist told the court Li is schizophrenic and believed God told him to do it.
Three dozen passengers were aboard the bus as it traveled at night along a desolate stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in western Canada. Witnesses said Li attacked McLean unprovoked, stabbing him dozens of times.
The statement of facts read in court said Li attacked McLean "for no apparent reason" and McLean fought to escape before he died.
As horrified passengers fled the bus, Li severed McLean's head and displayed it to some of the passengers outside, witnesses said.
A police report said an officer at the scene saw the attacker hacking off pieces of the body and eating them.
The statement said the attacker tried numerous times to leave the bus, but he was locked inside. Li eventually escaped through a window and was later arrested.
Police said some body parts were found in various areas of the bus and some were found in Li's possession.
McLean's family and friends, many wearing T-shirts with his picture, wept as the details were read.
Li, dressed in a suit and running shoes without laces, appeared calm during the hearing as he sat surrounded by security guards, his back to spectators.
Li did not understand his actions were wrong, psychiatrist Stanley Yaren told the court.
"A voice from God told him Mr. McLean was the force of evil and was about to execute him," he said. Li believed he had to act quickly to protect himself. The doctor said Li is still psychotic and believes it's just a matter of time before God kills him.
"My son's biggest mistake was going, 'how's it going,'" and for that he was attacked, said Carol deDelley, McLean's mother. She said she wants the law changed so anyone found not criminally responsible for a crime still serves prison time.
Li, who came to Canada in 2001, pleaded at an earlier hearing in August for someone to "please kill me."
Canada does not have the death penalty.
His former wife said Li, who became a Canadian citizen in 2005, took unexplained bus trips and sometimes rambled. He was hospitalized briefly but never sought medical attention.
Before he left on the bus trip, he left his wife a note: "I'm gone. Don't look for me. I wish you were happy."