Canadian bus beheading accused reported mentally ill

August 5th, 2008 - 11:02 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Aug 5 (IANS) Vince Li, the 40-year-old Chinese immigrant who beheaded and reportedly cannibalized his co-passenger last week, suffered from mental ill-health. Edmonton-based man, who came to Canada from China four years ago, has been charged with second-degree murder and beheading of 22-year-old Tim McLean from Winnipeg last Wednesday.

Since his arrest after a stand-off with police at the crime site on Trans-Canada Highway early Thursday, the Chinese immigrant has not spoken a word as he remains under suicide watch in jail in Winnipeg.

Handcuffed and heavily shackled, Li will appear in court Tuesday where the judge will decide whether he needs an immediate psychiatric assessment. If convicted of second-degree murder, Li could be jailed for life. He would be eligible for parole after 10 years.

Outraged by the crime, many Canadians are demanding that the charges be upgraded to first-degree murder. If jailed for life on charges of first-degree murder, he would not be eligible for parole for 25 years.

Reports quote a female family friend as saying that Li was a deeply troubled man who refused to seek psychiatric help.

“He needed help, but he just wouldn’t get it,” she was quoted as saying by a Winnipeg newspaper. “He was kind of a lost soul. It was as if he was always looking for something,” said the family friend who is a mental health worker.

“He was definitely schizophrenic, probably paranoid schizophrenic. He needed help but he just wouldn’t get it,” she was quoted as saying.

Recalling her conversation with Li once after he was given a red-light ticket (challaned) by traffic police, she said, “He started talking about how ‘they were after me, there was nothing there.”

The priest of the Grant Memorial Baptist Church in Winnipeg, where the alleged killer found his first job in Canada in 2004, said Li exhibited no signs of trouble.

Li reportedly left the church job in 2005, and with his wife Anna Li moved to Edmonton where he found work at a McDonald’s and as a newspaper delivery man.

Some time ago, he was reportedly hired by Wal-Mart. But he was sacked last month after some problems with a fellow worker.

The priest, who spoke with Li’s wife, told the media that she was feeling devastated, fearing for her own future as her husband faces life behind bars.

Reports say Li delivered newspapers last Monday, and then left for Winnipeg probably to attend a job interview. Police has not yet released the body of the victim to his family for burial.

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