Vince Li, 45, has stopped having hallucinations, has been a model patient at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre and is ready for more escorted passes into the community, his psychiatrist said Monday.
"I believe that, primarily, Mr. Li is invested in co-operating with and working with the treatment team," Dr. Steven Kremer told the Criminal Code Review Board, which examines Li's condition annually.
Li has made "excellent improvement" since the 2008 attack, Kremer said.
Li was found not criminally responsible for killing Tim McLean — an attack Crown attorney Susan Helechilde called "perhaps the most macabre crime ever committed in Manitoba."
Li was an undiagnosed schizophrenic at the time, but has continually taken his medication, has had no problems with staff or other patients and realizes he needs to stick to his treatment, Kremer said.
Dressed in a black pinstripe suit and sneakers, Li kept his head bowed for most of the hearing and focused on the table in front of him. He smiled at the end of the one-hour hearing and shook his lawyer's hand.
Li was initially confined to a locked wing of the hospital, but in 2010 was granted the right to escorted walks on hospital grounds. Last year, he was given the right to escorted daytime trips into Selkirk. He had to be accompanied at all times by a security guard and a staff member.
Kremer and other members of Li's treatment team suggested Monday that Li be given more trips. They said he should be allowed to go to Winnipeg under the same supervision. He should also be allowed to go to Selkirk, Lockport and nearby beaches under more relaxed, group supervision, they suggested.
The team also said Li is ready for unescorted walks on hospital grounds.
The Crown did not oppose the proposal's main points, but asked that staff be required to have cellphones at all times.
The review board said it would make its decision within a week.
The annual hearings are an unpleasant experience for the victim's mother, Carol DeDelley. She said Li should remain locked up for the rest of his life, but the mental health system seems intent on eventually freeing him.
"I just believe that (Li) ought to remain where he can get the care and treatment he requires and we can all feel safe," DeDelley told reporters after the hearing.
"The fact of the matter is, they don't know (what Li will do). Vince Li is an experiment at this point. They're just going to test and see, give him a little bit more freedom, a little bit more freedom and see what happens."
Li's attack on McLean was completely unprovoked.
The two men were strangers in July 2008 when Li sat down next to McLean, a 22-year-old carnival worker who was riding a bus from Edmonton to Winnipeg. McLean had his eyes closed and was listening to music on his headphones when Li suddenly stood up and started stabbing him.
The bus stopped and horrified passengers fled as Li carved up McLean's body and ate portions of it.
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