Canada Bus Decapitation Suspect In Court

Vince Weiguang Li, 40, is led into the Manitoba Provicial Court in Portage La Prairie, Man. on Aug. 1, 2008. Li, accused in the beheading of a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba, has been charged with second-degree murder.
AP Photo/Winnipeg Free Press
A 40-year-old man who witnesses say stabbed and beheaded his seat mate aboard a Greyhound bus traveling across Canada made his first court appearance Friday on second degree murder charges. Police offered no motive for the savage attack against a man who friends described as an easygoing carnival worker.

Vince Weiguang Li, of Edmonton, Alberta, his feet shackled, shuffled into a courtroom for a procedural hearing in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba with his head bowed. He did not reply when the judge asked him if he was going to get a lawyer, and only nodded slightly when asked whether he was exercising his right not to speak. He was not required to enter a plea.

Li's right hand was tightly bandaged, possibly due to handling the knife he's alleged to have used to attack his victim, reports the Winnipeg Free Press.

The prosecutor asked for a psychiatric assessment, but the judge said he wanted to give Li a chance to meet with his lawyer about that. Li's next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

Authorities have not released the victim's name or other details about Li. They also have not commented on the details of the attack, which occurred Wednesday night as the bus - en route from Edmonton to Winnipeg, Manitoba - traveled a desolate stretch of the TransCanada Highway through the Canadian Prairies.

Friends of the 22-year-old victim, however, identified him as Tim McLean, saying he was headed to Winnipeg after working with the carnival in Edmonton.

William Caron, 23, said his brother was supposed to pick McLean up at the bus depot in Winnipeg. When McLean did not show up, his brothers went to McLean's father's house, where they learned of his murder, he said.

Caron said McLean was quiet, though he liked to socialize with friends. He was small - about 5-foot-4 and 130 pounds - and tried to steer clear of trouble, he said.

"From what I hear, this other guy is three times his size," Caron said. "All the time I've known Tim, he's never been the type of guy to get into a fight with. He always kept to himself when there's strangers around."

Friends started a Facebook group called "R.I.P. Tim" after news of the attack.

"He was a great person, he was kind, thoughtful, and he did not deserve this. I feel for his parents and sisters and his lil bro," Jossiee Kehleer wrote on the site. She called him "a nice, caring guy," in an interview by instant message, but declined to say more.

Witnesses described a grisly murder that occurred as some were napping and others watching "The Legend of Zorro" on the bus's television screens.

Shortly after passengers reboarded the bus following a break, the suspect - for no apparent reason - stabbed the man sitting next to him several dozen times as passengers fled in horror, witnesses said. He then severed the man's head, displayed it and began hacking at the body.

Garnet Caton, who was sitting just one seat in front of the two men, said he did not hear the two speak to each other before the attack.

"We heard this bloodcurdling scream and turned around, and the guy was standing up, stabbing this guy repeatedly," Caton said.

Caton said the driver stopped the bus when he became aware of the attack and passengers raced off. A short while later, Caton said he re-boarded along with the bus driver and a trucker who had stopped to see what was happening.

He said the suspect had the victim on the floor of the bus and "was cutting his head off" with a large hunting knife.

"When he was attacking him, he was calm," said Caton. "There was no rage or anything. He was just like a robot stabbing the guy."

The attacker turned toward them and the three men quickly left the bus, blocking the door as the attacker slashed at them through an opening. Caton said the driver disabled the vehicle after the attacker tried to drive it away.

As the three guarded the door with a crow bar and a hammer, the attacker went back to the body and calmly came to the front of the bus to show off the head, Caton said.

Cody Olmstead, another passenger, said the man "dropped the head and went back and started cutting the body." Olmstead said the man later use the head to taunt police.

Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said there were 37 passengers aboard.

The victim had been on the bus since Edmonton. Caton said the attacker boarded the bus in Brandon, Manitoba, about 80 miles west of Portage La Prairie.

The suspect had been on the bus about an hour and initially did not sit near the victim, Caton said. But he changed seats after a rest stop.