TORONTO – A man who witnesses said stabbed and beheaded his seatmate on a Greyhound bus in Canada appeared in court Friday. Police offered no motive for the attack against a 22-year-old carnival worker.
Vince Weiguang Li, 40, of Edmonton, Alberta, was charged with second-degree murder, an indication police don’t think the attack was premeditated. He shuffled into the courtroom Friday in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, with his head bowed and feet shackled.
Li, whose face was bruised and one hand bandaged, did not reply when the judge asked him whether 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. The prosecutor asked for a psychiatric exam, but the judge said he wanted to give Li a chance to meet with his lawyer.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Li, who worked as a newspaper carrier in Edmonton, has no known criminal record.
Li’s employer, Vincent Augert, told the Edmonton Journal that Li had delivered papers until Monday. He said that Li told him he had a job interview in Winnipeg. Augert said Li’s immediate supervisor described him as a “nice guy.”
Authorities have not released the victim’s name, but friends identified him as Tim McLean and said he was on his way to Winnipeg after working with the carnival in Edmonton.
William Caron, 23, said McLean was small – about 5-foot-4 and 130 pounds – and tended to stay away from a fight, 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.”
Passengers said the victim was stabbed dozens of times Wednesday as the bus traveled a desolate stretch of the TransCanada Highway about 12 miles from Portage La Prairie. After passengers reboarded following a break, the suspect – for no apparent reason – stabbed the man sitting next to him as others fled, witnesses said. He severed the man’s head, displayed it and began hacking at the body.