A provincial court has ordered the Canadian bus killer Vince Weiguang Li to undergo psychiatric evaluation. He is already under suicide watch.
The 40-year-old Chinese immigrant, accused of decapitating a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus last Wednesday, made his second court appearance Tuesday at Portage la Prairie, a city west of Winnipeg, capital of Manitoba in western Canada.
Court officials and reporters within earshot of Li heard him saying, softly, "Please kill me." It was brief appearance, and the judge did not acknowledge Li's words in any way, CTV reports.
As with his first court appearance, Li refused to speak to the judge. When the judge asked Li if he understood the seriousness of the crime, he nodded. When asked whether he wanted a lawyer, he fiercely shook his head.
The judge urged him to get a lawyer and ordered a psychiatric assessment to determine whether or not he's fit to stand trial.
The court heard that an hour-long standoff came to an end early Thursday when the accused broke a window, dropping scissors and a knife out of it and then leaping out of the window himself. The man was then arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Investigators also confirmed that Li had defiled and cannibalized the corpse after stabbing the 22-year-old Tim McLean to death.
Local media have reported that Li, who is being held at the Winnipeg Remand Centre, has been on suicide watch and has not been communicating except by nodding or shaking his head.
Despite the ghastly and almost ritual type killing and decapitation, Li is facing only second degree murder charges - for his victim was a total stranger to him. The first degree is invoked mostly in cases of pre-meditated attack.
Li had migrated to Canada only four years ago along with his wife. People who seem to know him have expressed their shock over the level of violence seen aboard the Greyhound.
Pastor Tom Castor of the Winnipeg Grant Memorial Church, where Li had worked menial jobs for a time, said the man seemed happy to have a job. He was committed to doing it well, despite the language barrier.
"I think he would occasionally feel frustrated with not being able to communicate or understand," Castor told CTV Winnipeg. "But we have a very patient staff and he seemed to respond well."
He also said Li did not show any signs of anger issues or any other trouble before he quit in the spring of 2005 and moved to Edmonton, where he worked at McDonald's and delivered newspapers for several publications.
For his part the newspaper contractor Vincent Augert said, "I'm still kind of shocked and surprised, to be honest with you. He just never came across as the type of person that could do something like that. He was a nice guy.
"He was there every day, he did a good job, was friendly and really, we had no problems with this individual at all."
However, there are suggestions that he had been showing evidence of mental health troubles in the period leading up to the attack.
Meantime the Winnipeg Grant Memorial Church's congregation has offered to support Li's wife Anna, who is said to be in shock and afraid for her future in Canada.
The congregation has also prayed for the family of the McLean, who was viciously murdered on the bus as it travelled near Portage La Prairie.