A Canadian man who was found not guilty for the beheading and cannibalizing of a Greyhound bus passenger due to mental illness has been set free.
Manitoba’s Criminal Code Review Board announced that it gave Will Baker, formerly known as Vince Li, an absolute discharge Friday, meaning he is no longer subject to any conditions or monitoring, the Associated Press reported.
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,” according to the decision.
Baker’s doctor, Jeffrey Waldman, told the board he was confident Baker would continue to take his medication and work with the treatment team.
Baker, a diagnosed schizophrenic, killed a young carnival worker named Tim McLean in 2008. In 2009, he was found not guilty due to mental illness.
Baker said he heard the voice of God telling him to kill the man or “die immediately.”
Baker repeatedly stabbed and mutilated the body as passengers fled the bus. He beheaded McLean and showed the head to some passengers outside the bus, witnesses said.
Baker was initially kept in a secure wing of a psychiatric hospital but was granted more freedom each year at his review board hearings, starting with escorted walks on the hospital grounds, the Toronto Star reported.
He has been living in his own apartment in Winnipeg since November but was still subject to monitoring to ensure he took his medication.
McLean’s mother, Carol de Delley, said she was against the decision because there would be no way to ensure that Baker would continue to take his medication.
Conservative member of Parliament James Bezan also criticized his release, saying it would be an insult to McLean’s family.
Chris Summerville, executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenic Society, defended his release, saying he is no longer violent.
“He is no longer a violent person,” Summerville said. “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.”