It’s been a decade since the beheading of a passenger on a Greyhound bus west of Winnipeg, and the fallout over the incident and its subsequent justice system ruling is still a running debate in the country.
Vince Li, who now goes by the name Will Baker, beheaded and cannibalized a fellow passenger, Tim McLean, on a bus just outside Portage la Prairie on July 30, 2008.
Baker sat next to 22-year-old McLean on the ride, which never made it to its final destination.
The violent attack took place after the young man smiled at Baker and asked how he was doing. Baker later said he heard the voice of God telling him to kill the carnival worker or “die immediately.”
WATCH: The mother of Tim McLean reacts to Vince Li’s release in 2017
He repeatedly stabbed McLean while the McLean fought for his life.
As passengers fled the bus, Baker continued stabbing and mutilating the body before he was arrested.
Baker was charged with second-degree murder, but was found not criminally responsible for his actions because he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and hadn’t been taking his medications.
He has since received a full discharge from the mental hospital in Selkirk, Man., where he was being held.
It’s a ruling that has led to cries for justice reform across the country and one that still is argued about in 2018.
McLean’s mother, Carol de Delley, had been outspoken against granting Baker freedom. She said there was no way to ensure he would continue to take his medication.
WATCH: Justice minister says there will be ‘broad review’ of justice system following discharge of Vince Li
Chris Summerville, who is with the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, is on the other side of the debate.
Summerville regularly chats with Baker and has kept in close contact since the NCR decision came down.
“He continues to make excellent progress,” Summerville said Monday. “He’s doing as well as anyone I know with schizophrenia and I know that’s hard for many people in the public to understand.”
Summerville has been an outspoken supporter of Baker and his release for years.
He believes something McLean’s family has repeatedly argued: the number one thing keeping Baker in line isn’t medication — it’s guilt.
“They too are a victim of their untreated psychosis.”
In 2017, Baker was expected to live in Winnipeg for the next two to three years and was on a waiting list for a post-secondary training program, with plans to establish a career in the city.
– With files from the Canadian Press