WINNIPEG — A schizophrenic man who beheaded and cannibalized a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus could know later this week whether he will be granted his freedom.
Manitoba's Criminal Code Review Board says it will decide in the coming days whether Will Baker, formerly known as Vince Li, should be granted an absolute discharge.
Baker was found not criminally responsible in the killing of Tim McLean in 2008.
Baker's doctor, Jeffrey Waldman, told the board Monday that he is confident Baker will remain on his medication and will continue to work with his treatment team if released.
Will Baker, formerly known as Vince Li, said he heard the voice of God telling him to kill the young carnival worker or "die immediately.'' (Photo: The Canadian Press)
Waldman testified Baker knows that it's the medication that keeps his illness at bay and Baker doesn't want that to change.
Waldman said Baker plans to visit his native China if released but would live in Winnipeg for the next two to three years. He is on the waiting list for a training program and plans on establishing a career in the city.
The Crown, however, which was refused a delay in Monday's hearing to better prepare for the discharge request, is opposed to Baker's release.
It argued the safety of the public is paramount and Baker represents a continued risk.
Victim's mother: Li should remain at facility
McLean's mother, Carol de Delley, has been outspoken against the move, saying there would be no way to ensure Baker continued to take his medication.
She reiterated that after the hearing Monday.
"Never completely free — never. If I had my way he would remain in a facility," de Delley said outside court. "If he is going to be in the community he at least needs to be under conditions. At least legally obligated."
Baker was initially kept inside a secure wing at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre after his arrest.
He was gradually granted more freedom over the years at annual appearances before the board. He started living on his own last year, but is still subject to monitoring and random drug tests.
Baker sat next to the 22-year-old McLean on the bus after the young man smiled at him and asked how he was doing.
Baker said he heard the voice of God telling him to kill the young carnival worker or "die immediately."
He repeatedly stabbed McLean while the young man fought for his life. As passengers fled the bus, Baker continued stabbing and mutilating the body before he was arrested.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1999 that a review board must order an absolute discharge if a person doesn't pose a significant threat to public safety.
The ruling added there must be clear evidence of a significant risk to the public for the review board to continue imposing conditions after a person is found not criminally responsible.