Greyhound Killer Beheads Man & Wants Forgiveness

busGreyhound bus rides can be unpleasant under the best of circumstances, but no one got a more gruesome and tragic ride than Tim McLean, a 22-year-old carnival worker, who was attacked, beheaded, and partially eaten by his seat mate, Vince Li, a mentally disturbed man. Li, who suffers from severe schizophrenia, became convinced that McLean, whom he didn't know, was an alien and that he had to kill him to save humanity.

Li has spent four years in a mental facility in Winnipeg, and now he is going to be allowed to make supervised visits to the outside world. The decision sparked outrage in Canada, but Li says that he now takes his medication, doesn't hear voices, and that he is "not a risk for anybody." Er, does this make anyone feel comfortable? Yeah, me neither.

But there's one more thing Li would like too. And it's a doozy.


Li says that he would like to be forgiven. In a transcript of the first interview Li has given since the attack, he said:

I would do anything for (McLean’s) family. I would ask forgiveness, but I know it would be hard to accept.

So what does McLean's family have to say about this? Said McLean's mother, Carol de Delley:

I think for the advancement of my own being ... my own soul, I will have to come to a place of accepting. But what would be unforgivable for me would be ... to not do anything to try to prevent this from happening again by the same perpetrator. I don’t think Vince Li can be trusted to take his medication.

Carol de Delley is campaigning to keep mentally disturbed people in facilities longer. De Delley doesn't sound like she has forgiven Li just yet for her son's murder, and that's understandable. But, as she said, it's better for her to come to a place of "accepting." Should we, as a society, be more willing to forgive people who commit crimes when they are genuinely mentally ill? Should they be given a second chance at freedom?

As de Delley notes, Li had already been released from another treatment center after showing progress, only to relapse and kill her son. But many mentally ill people seek treatment and then are released back into society without incident. In fact, people who commit murder and are NOT mentally ill are often released back into society after their time is served. So what to do with someone like Li?

Could you forgive?


Image via zigazou76/ Flickr

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