TORONTO On July 30, 2008, Timothy McLean, 22, boarded a Greyhound bus in Edmonton, Alberta, went straight to the back, put in his headphones and waited as the bus rambled down the Trans-Canada Highway bound for his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. On the way home, the bus made several scheduled stops, including one in Erickson, Manitoba, where a man named Vince Li boarded.

Li sat at the front, but decided to switch seats at one of the rest stops. He walked to the back of the bus and sat just a few seats from McLean, who acknowledged Li and then fell asleep against the windowpane.

Just a little while later, passengers heard a horrible scream. Some turned around to see Li stabbing McLean with a large knife, over and over, piercing his neck.

Passengers were panicking and screaming, rushing to get off the bus. Some vomited. Some cried.‚ But before they could get off the bus, Li had already decapitated McLean and tossed his head on the bus floor.

The passengers all evacuated and locked Li inside. The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) arrived shortly thereafter, and surrounded the bus, providing no escape for Li.

Li stayed in the bus for hours, taunting the officers. He grabbed the head off the floor and held it up against the window. He cut off McLean’s then-lifeless fingers and began to eat them.

Li shouted out the window, “I need to stay on this bus forever.” But that didn’t happen. He broke the window and threw a knife and scissors at the officers. He was arrested and recently convicted of second-degree murder in front of McLean’s family and friends, though he pleaded not guilty. His lawyers argued Li is a schizophrenic and suffered an episode the day he beheaded McLean.

The defence worked. Li was found not criminally responsible for the crime, and will spend perhaps the rest of his life in a secure psychiatric facility.‚ “These grotesque acts are appalling “¦ but are suggestive of a mental disorder,” said Manitoba court Judge John Scurfield. “He did not appreciate the act he committed was wrong.”

Oh, and Greyhound paid for the‚ counseling‚ of a young Manitoba couple who witnessed the killing first-hand. They also gave them a compensation package of $450.

“Seeing that is not something you get over very quickly,” said Stephen Allison, 20. “It’s made me a shell of my former self. I’m trying to get back to normal but it’s hard.”

That probably wouldn’t help me at all if I’d seen this.

About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

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