Schizophrenic Canadian who beheaded bus passenger walks free, won’t be monitored
Will Baker, formerly known as Vince Li, was granted an absolute discharge by the Criminal Code Review Board in the Canadian province of Manitoba on Friday.
The board “is of the opinion that the weight of evidence does not substantiate that Mr. Baker poses a significant threat to the safety of the public,” the decision said.
The gruesome murder took place on a Greyhound bus back in 2008, when Baker was sitting next to Tim McLean, a 22-year-old carnival worker whom he had never met before. The young man reportedly smiled at Baker and asked him how he was doing.
Baker claimed that he heard the voice of God tell him to kill McLean or “die immediately.” The man then repeatedly stabbed the 22-year-old and beheaded him as passengers fled the bus in shock.
Baker was initially kept in a secure wing of a psychiatric hospital, but was recognized as schizophrenic and found not to be criminally responsible a year later in 2009, while gaining more and more privileges every year.
Baker began living on his own in an apartment in Manitoba’s capital, Winnipeg, in November of 2016, but he was monitored to make sure that he took his medication. Earlier in February, Baker’s lawyer asked the board to drop the remaining conditions and give Baker complete freedom.
“I was confident based on the evidence that was presented to them,” Baker’s lawyer Alan Libman told the Winnipeg Sun.
“There was no contrary point of view provided. No one who has worked with him believes he’s a danger to anyone; no one who has worked with him has anything negative to say. He’s been hard-working, compliant, and has done everything that’s been asked of him,” he said.
The executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, Chris Summerville, told the Toronto Star newspaper that Baker is “no longer a violent person.”
“I will say, yes, he absolutely understands that he has to [take his medication] and has a desire to live a responsible, moral life and never succumb to psychotic episodes and not to hurt anybody ever again,” he said.
However, Carol de Delley, the victim’s mother, took to Facebook to criticize Baker’s release.
“This just in... Vince Li/Will Baker was granted an absolute discharge today by the Manitoba review board. I have no comment today. I have no words...,” she said.
Crown attorney Mary Goska, a prosecutor in Canada’s legal system, believes Baker is still a threat to the public.
“We should not lose sight of what occurred because it does speak to the threat… It’s clear that he can be a danger in certain circumstances,” she said.
Baker’s release has also prompted a flood of incredulous posts on social media.