Winnipeg, Manitoba – A Canadian man, Will Baker, who was found not criminally responsible in 2009 for publicly beheading another man, was released from custody and any sort of supervision on Friday.
According to CBS News, Will Baker, formerly known as Vince Li, was given an absolute discharge by a Canadian Review Board. An absolute discharge will eliminate any type of monitoring for Baker by the Canadian government.
In 2008, Baker, a diagnosed schizophrenic, met a carnival worker named Tim McLean, age 22, on a bus. McLean smiled at Baker and asked him how he was doing as Baker sat next to him. Baker said he heard the voice of God telling him to kill McLean or “die immediately.”
Will Baker then stabbed McLean repeatedly while the victim fought for his life. Passengers fled the bus as Baker continued to stab and mutilate McLean. He severed McLean’s head and showed it to some of the passengers outside of the bus.
In 2009, Will Baker was found not criminally responsible for the crime due to mental illness. He was initially confined to a secure ward of a psychiatric hospital but was given more and more freedom each year. Baker has been living on his own in a Winnipeg apartment since November, 2016, but remained under monitoring to ensure he took his medication.
Mary Goska, Crown Attorney, said that Baker remains a threat if he stops taking his medication. McLean’s mother, Carol de Delley, has been outspoken against Baker’s release, also voicing concerns about the lack of monitoring to ensure he takes his medication. On a Facebook post about the recent decision, she said “I have no words.”
The incident continues to haunt many. One of the first responders on the scene, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal Ken Barker killed himself in July, 2014. He had been a police officer for twenty years previous to responding to the gruesome Baker incident, which forced him to retire. It also cost him his marriage.
Corporal Barker’s sister, Wendy Walder, said that the corporal’s treatment was progressing before his suicide, that he was still a dog handler, but was given different assignments to avoid having to respond to ‘murders’. She said that he began having flashbacks when the media started reporting about Baker’s walks and any updates. Walder and Corporal Barker’s wife Shari said that they rescued him from a previous suicide attempt but were not successful in stopping the second.
Will Baker has said that he wants to visit his native China but plans to stay in the Winnipeg area for the next two to three years. He is on a list for a post-secondary training program and plans on establishing a career in Winnipeg. Baker emigrated to Canada from China in 2001 and became a Canadian citizen in 2015. His attorney said that he is committed to taking his medication.
In a written decision, the Board said that it was not proven that Baker was a continuing risk to the general public.
Without proper monitoring, there is no guarantee that Will Baker will stay on his medication, and he had already shown that he will murder innocent people when off of his medication.
And what about the family of Tim McLean and Corporal Barker? There is no justice for them.