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Killer could get new privileges

A psychiatrist has suggested that the man who beheaded afellow bus passenger on a Manitoba highway and ate pieces of his fleshshould be granted more outdoor time and eventually be reintegrated intosociety.

WINNIPEG — A psychiatrist has suggested that the man who beheaded a
fellow bus passenger on a Manitoba highway and ate pieces of his flesh
should be granted more outdoor time and eventually be reintegrated into
society.



Vince Li is responding to treatment, is ``co-operative and polite’’ and
has provided ``absolutely no difficulty’’ to staff at the Selkirk Mental
Health Centre, where he has been locked up since 2008, Dr. Steven
Kremer told a review board Monday.



``Mr. Li recognizes that he has a mental illness ... and recognizes that he requires medication.’’



Li was found not criminally responsible for the gruesome killing of Tim
McLean, a young carnival worker, onboard a Greyhound bus three years ago
near Portage la Prairie, Man. The judge found that Li was an untreated
schizophrenic who heard voices telling him to kill McLean, a man he had
never met who happened to be sitting beside him.



Li was sentenced to a secure wing of the mental hospital. His treatment
and conditions are reviewed annually. Initially, he wasn’t allowed
outdoors, but last year the Criminal Review Board of Manitoba granted
him short supervised walks on the unfenced hospital grounds.



Kremer asked the review board Monday to allow the hospital to gradually
expand those walks — currently totalling two hours a day — to a 12-hour
period between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The number of staff accompanying him
should be reduced to one from three, Kremer added.



The request was criticized by Carol DeDelley, the victim’s mother, who
attended the review with other family members, all wearing T-shirts and
pins featuring McLean’s face.



``It is another step toward Vince Li’s ultimate freedom,’’ she said
outside the hearing. ``I think we need to treat him and take care of him
behind locked bars for the rest of his life.’’



Crown attorney Susan Helenchilde said she does not oppose letting Li
walk outdoors on the grounds more often, but said the walks should be
restricted to daylight hours and only when at least two staff members
are with him.



The review board is expected to rule on the request later this week.



Li, dressed in a black suit and running shoes, sat quietly at the
hearing. He was attentive throughout and occasionally whispered to his
lawyer.



Li’s treatment team would eventually like to see him granted escorted
trips into Selkirk, Kremer said. Such a move would require approval from
the review board and a request would not likely be made for at least
another year.



While Li has been a model patient, he continues to have ``auditory
hallucinations’’, Kremer said. The most recent one was five months ago.



The idea of Li eventually walking the streets has been raised before and
has met with criticism from McLean’s family, radio talk show callers
and in online forums. But such criticism is off-base, according to the
Manitoba Schizophrenia Society.



``The public says ... schizophrenia is this broken brain and it can’t be
fixed, so keep him out of my backyard and make sure he takes his
medication,’’ said Chris Summerville, the society’s executive director.



Summerville meets with Li about once every two months, and says Li has made tremendous progress.



``He wants to take the medication and he doesn’t want this to happen again,’’ he said.



``He remembers the situation and so consequently he has to live with the horror of that. He does not justify it.’’



The reassurances, however, have not swayed DeDelley.



``It’s too late for my son and for the rest of my family and the trauma
that continues to go on for all of us. We don’t want this to happen to
someone else’s family — and it will.’’

 
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