Vince Weiguang Li (L), suspect in the murder of Tim McLean aboard a Greyhound bus in Manitoba, is escorted by sheriff officers on his way to a court appearance in Portage la Prairie August 5, 2008.
Credits: FILE PHOTO
On Monday, Carol deDelley and her family will return to the Winnipeg Law Courts for Vincent Li's annual hearing before the Criminal Code Review Board, the third since Li was found not criminally responsible for the gruesome killing of deDelley's son, Tim McLean.
"The closer we get to the review board date the more of a reality it becomes," she said Wednesday. "I'm terrified. One day they will let him free and I'm just hoping it's not this year -- that's what goes through your mind."
McLean's grisly killing aboard a Greyhound bus in July 2008 made international headlines.
Li stabbed the unsuspecting 22-year-old as he slept. After terrified passengers scrambled out of the bus, Li continued to stab, mutilate and dismember McLean. Witnesses reported seeing Li eat pieces of McLean's body and lick blood from his fingers.
Li, 43, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Last June, the Criminal Code Review Board relaxed conditions restricting Li's access to the grounds outside Selkirk Mental Health Centre, his home since March 2009.
At the time, Li was allowed passes on the centre's unfenced grounds, escorted by three staff members. The review board reduced the escort number to one staff member equipped with a two-way radio or cellphone.
The board also ruled hospital bosses be allowed to approve Li for ground passes starting at one hour and that they "increase incrementally to a maximum of full days."
DeDelley continues to oppose granting Li any freedom outside the walls of Selkirk Mental Health Centre.
"I don't care if they want to treat him and medicate him and study him -- if he's a well-behaved patient, that's great, and so much the better for the people who are taking care of him," deDelley said. "But I think for the rest of society to remain safe he needs to be kept away from society."
DeDelley said it's not right that her family and families like hers be forced to return to court year after year and relive their greatest pain.
"There isn't a minimum period of detention ... so you don't even have a set amount of time that you don't have to go to a review board," she said. "If there was a minimum period, say five years or 10 years, at least that would give the families an opportunity to not have it in their face."
It is expected the review board will hear submissions addressing the issue of off-grounds passes, a topic posed to, but not addressed by the review board at last year's hearing.