Those of us who have ridden the Greyhound Line in North America know that it can get pretty sketchy sometimes. Fights, drug deals and usage, and prostitution are all known to have taken place there, and that’s just in the terminals! As twenty-two-year-old Canadian man Tim McLean unfortunately found out, things can get much worse on the buses.
On July 30, 2008, McLean was taking a Greyhound bus home to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada from a carnival job in Edmonton Alberta. It was a long ride that was almost coming to an end that evening—the bus was less than fifty miles from its destination.
At one of the last stops before Winnipeg, a Chinese-born Canadian citizen named Vincent Weiguang Li got on the bus. Li was not a particularly impressive individual to say the least. He had worked as a software engineer in his native China, but after he immigrated to Canada in 2001, he never really seemed to find solid footing. He attended a church in Winnipeg for a while, worked some menial jobs in the area, and then moved to Edmonton with his wife to work more menial jobs before getting fired from a Wal-Mart store.
To the few people who knew Li, things were quickly spiraling out of control for him.
When Li got on the bus that night he initially sat near the front of the bus. Then he slowly made his way to the back of the bus and took an open seat next to McLean.
McLean was sound asleep with his headphones on. . . he never had a chance!
Suddenly, Li took out a large knife and began stabbing and hacking away at McLean. The bus driver did his best to protect the other passengers by ushering them out to the side of the road. He then tried to stop Li’s homicidal fury, but it was too late. All the bus driver could do was call the local police.
And watch the disgusting display of depravity.
Li proceeded to chop McLean’s head off, which he then pressed against the window to show the terrified passengers on the side of the road. He then began cutting pieces of flesh from his victim and ate them.
Local police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived on the scene at 9:00 p.m. and, after nearly a four-hour standoff, took Li into custody. Li was promptly charged with McLean’s murder and faced the possibility of spending the rest of his life in a maximum security provincial prison in Manitoba. And it sure seemed like an airtight case.
What defense could he actually have for committing such a heinous crime?
Well, in the modern justice system in Western countries things don’t always happen as expected.
Li pleaded “not criminally responsible,” which in Canada is essentially a “not guilty by reason of insanity” plea. Instead of a jury deciding the merits of the plea, it was up to a judge. The judge ruled in Li’s favor and sent him to a secure mental hospital in 2009. Now you might be thinking, “But they’ll keep him in there for the rest of his life, right?” Well, not exactly.
Li’s doctors stated that he responded well to treatment and, as a result, he was allowed unsupervised furloughs into the neighboring towns beginning in 2014. He was then released with no conditions in 2017, changed his name, and disappeared back into Canadian society.
If you’re reading this in Canada, especially Manitoba, the Greyhound cannibal may be living next door to you and you’d never know it.