Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Greyhound Cannibal’s Psychiatrist Testifies in Court

After pleading not guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday morning, the court heard that Vince Weiguang Li thought Tim McLean was the force of evil and God 'told' him to kill Tim. Li also believed that McLean would come back to life to ‘finish him off’ which led Li to proceed to decapitate and defile McLean’s body.

Li was clearly suffering from a major psychotic episode as a result of schizophrenia at the time of the attack according to Dr. Stanley Yaren.

Yaren, the only prosecution witness in the case, also told the court that Li is a decent man who has been co-operative and has made major strides since being hospitalized and medicated. He also said Li could be able to function again in the community.

Yaren said Li is gradually beginning to realize what he's done, but still doesn't accept the fact he cannibalized some of McLean's body parts.

Prosecution and defense attorneys have agreed on a statement of facts in the case, and none of the witnesses to the slaying would be called.

Judge Scurfield is likely to decide Mr. Li should not be held criminally responsible.

Li’s mental problems likely began in 2003. He was briefly hospitalized in Ontario after being picked up by police. Li was found walking down a highway believing he was following the sun. Li received no additional treatment after the brief hospitalization.

After court, Carol deDelley, Tim’s mother, told reporters she found it offensive a psychiatrist described her son's killer as a decent man.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for Tim’s family and friends to hear that after some months of treatment and medication Li could be reintroduced to society.

Mental illness is a sad and serious situation, but I have to wonder - as I’m sure many do - what guarantee could be made that if Li is released he will continue treatment, continue medication, and not suffer another psychotic episode? A vibrant 22-year-old man was brutally murdered. Do we wait for another victim?

Calgary Herald


ritanita said...

It's horrible for everyone if Li, after extensive treatment is released and left to his own devices.

Since this is not his first "episode" and it recurred with disasterous consequences after his first treatment, there is a chance it can happen again.

What demon will overtake him the next time he decides he doesn't need medication?

Society deserves better than this sham.

Sprocket said...

Treatment facilities failed Li the first time around. Was he correctly diagnosed at that time or had his illness not fully manifested?

I am conflicted about this case. But I also don't believe that those who murder because of a mental illness should get another opportunity to be a threat to society again.

Anonymous said...

From my understanding, being delusional is like being in a nightmare you can't wake up from. Thus the dreamer has no control of what goes on.

Most of us are awake enough not to act in this nightmare state. I am very sorry for this man's mental illness.

The question of how the state can protect others from the unintended results of his nightmare is the real problem. In my neighborhood there is a "crazy lady" who does destructive things like taking all the trash out of trash containers and throwing it all over the street. These people need help and they need to be incarcerated.

The problem needs to addressed head on, as there are many mentally ill people who have been thrown out on the streets as there are no facilities open anymore for them. The prisons often have become the only place to put the severely mentally ill. This is a crime in itself.

Anonymous said...

Having a major mental illness myself (bipolar disorder), I sympathize with this Li guy, but do not think he is safe for society - ever. Most schizos just won't stay on meds; therefore, they just rescind into their former state. It's too much for the rest of us to trust this man to be in the outside world. Too bad good mental facilities have closed, those still open only keep someone a week or two. Jails are overcrowded as it is. How can we put them there? It's a quandary for which there seems to be no answer.

Anonymous said...

Keep Li in a mental institution for the criminally insane. Too bad there aren't many around anymore. Federal cutbacks and state ones too, you know, don't help much, that's for sure.

Seeka said...

Hi there, some of you will remember me from PS1, Peterson trials, and Psyche's Knott.

This case it all too close to me! Not only do I live in Edmonton, where Li boarded the bus, if the fact that Li was in a psychiatric hospital, here in Edmonton, I am familiar with that place as well..not as a patient, rather through a good friend, who is a counselor, and has clients there.

The place is like a revolving door. A young girl seriously attempted suicide, about 6 months ago. She was taken to Alberta Hospital Edmonton...and, released the next day! She was dead two days later, her second attempt did not fail!

Add to this...Ironically, prior to moving to Alberta, I lived outside of Brandon, Manitoba, and I am familiar with Portage La Prairie, where his case is being heard!

This disturbs me, very much. Portage is a small town. Probably their worst cases are DUI's.

Winnipeg, the capital city is less than a half hour from Portage, and not only should the trial be held there...but, I am wondering why they returned the passengers of the bus back to Brandon?

This doesn't make sense to me. As I said, Portage is considerably closer to Winnipeg,(less than 1/2 hr.) why backtrack about an hour? Especially when this was the destination of many of the passengers aboard the bus. Why not get them home? hmmmmm?

All I can say, if he is committed to a psych. hospital, I pray, it is better than the one here, in Edmonton!

Here, I have no doubt he would be released, as soon as he "appeared normal"! Scary, as I don't want him walking the streets of Edmonton...where I enjoy living!

It has been proved over, and over again, schizophrenics are KNOWN to go off their medications, once they feel "normal", due to the adverse side affects from the meds.

This case is all areas, and I don't trust our Province's ability, to guarantee the safety of it's citizens, should they release this man!


There was a time when Karla Holmoka was considering on moving to Edmonton, upon her release.

The public in Edmonton was in an uproar!! I was actively on a board, trying to stop this from happening. Fortunately, she chose to not come here!

Should I find in the future, Li, is being released, and plans on returning to Edmonton...I will once again, let my voice be heard.

Yes, I know they have to go somewhere...but IMO, when they have proved they are "violentl, although through illness, and have taken someone's life"; they should live their life in an institution setting for the remainder of their own life.

This is the only way to ensure the publics safety, which, I don't think, given the nature of his crime, is too much to ask!

ritanita said...

Seeka, thank you so much for your comments. The problem in Canada is the same as in the US.

I understand why the laws of both our countries tried to put mental patients in the least restrictive environments.

However, the laws did not allow for people such as Li, who can never be trusted with freedom.

I don't want to see such people as he warehoused in awful asylums where they are seriously mistreated. They deserve decent living conditions and total monitoring of their mental state for the rest of their lives.

On medication, he may be a nice person, but, as you point out, that situation will not last.

As of now, the public has no choice. Dangerous people... to themselves or to others are denied the best possible living situations for their cases.

Anonymous said...

There are some really good comments in this reaching toward issues that have to be solved. Back in Ohio I lived near the Ohio State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. It was a horrible place, and I think many of the patients were lobotomized or medical experiments were done on them or both.

We are supposedly more advanced these days, we have the internet which allows us to reach across borders to talk about things which might be ignored or not talked about in a small town. But as of yet we don't have any real solutions of how to deal with those of our society who do suffer from serious mental illness. I know of several people whose lives have been virtually ruined by a family member whose mental illness has affected everyone, and they are unable to do anything about it.

I think that as a large community of people we need to think about how best to help these victims of their own minds. They cannot be left on their own, as is the case here, but must be dealt with in some way.

Maybe this small discussion will have an effect, however small it may seem at the time.