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Vince Li stood in a Manitoba courtroom yesterday pleading for it all to end.

"Please kill me," he said quietly, in a court packed with journalists and members of the victim's family.

Mr. Li, 40, is accused of stabbing and beheading 22-year-old Tim McLean, a complete stranger, who was sleeping next to him on a Greyhound bus bound for Winnipeg on July 30.

The judge ordered a psychiatric assessment to determine whether Mr. Li is fit to stand trial and whether he can be held criminally responsible for his actions. He has so far refused to speak to a lawyer.

Court was told Mr. Li spent four days in a Canadian psychiatric facility at some point, but the Crown is still trying to determine where and when. Crown lawyer Joyce Dalmyn said Mr. Li has not yet offered any explanation for what occurred aboard Greyhound bus 1170. "No explanation, no note, almost nothing verbal," Ms. Dalmyn said.

"There is nothing to indicate it's anything other than a random and unprovoked attack."

Meanwhile, new details have emerged about how Mr. Li spent the 24 hours before Mr. McLean was killed, including that he spent a night on a public bench and that he sold a laptop to a teenager that contained personal letters and photos, as well as a note that expressed feelings of guilt at leaving China, and confusion about life in Canada.

Mr. Li first stepped off the Greyhound bus from Edmonton in the tiny western Manitoba town of Erickson, population 456, just before 6 p.m. last Tuesday, July 29.

He strode across the street from the convenience store, which doubles as a bus depot, carrying five pieces of luggage under his arms. He was wearing small black sunglasses, a green shirt and a hat, and looked perfectly put together, like a businessman, said Darren Beatty, a 15-year-old student who works at a local gas station.

"The whole time I seen him he never took off his sunglasses," Mr. Beatty said.

He watched him sit down on a shaded wooden bench next to the Co-op grocery store on Main Street, arranging his bags around him and resting his arms as though he were sitting in an arm chair.

He didn't move for the next three hours.

Around 9 p.m., he walked into the M&M store, where David Dauphinais's husband Darren was working alone.

Mr. Li hung around for what felt like ages, making Darren extremely uncomfortable. He called his husband, saying he was afraid to walk home.

"He was really freaked out," David said. "He said there was something about this guy that made the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

"Darren's a treaty Indian. When Darren gets nervous about somebody, I listen."

David rushed back from a meeting, only to find that Mr. Li had left the store when another customer walked in.

That night neither could sleep, fretting about the mysterious stranger. David got out of bed at 3 a.m. and went down to check on his store. He saw Mr. Li sitting across the street, bolt upright on the bench, eyes wide open.

The following morning, Mr. Beatty was riding his bike when he saw a laptop on the curb. The screen was open and a hand-written sign said "$600 for sale, or best offer."

He circled on his bike, noted the brand-new Acer 4200, and approached Mr. Li.

He offered $100, then immediately lowered it to $50. Mr. Li contemplated for a moment.

"That's probably enough to get you a bus ticket," Mr. Beatty said. They settled on $60, plus a bag.

"I just thought he was a guy having a hard time," he said, adding he never felt threatened. "He seemed lost. As I was talking to him about [the laptop]he muttered something about America. He had a thick accent so it was hard to understand.

"He seemed really happy to get some money in his hand."

Mr. Beatty brought the computer home, and, after returning to get the password from Mr. Li (it was 7777), he unwittingly opened a window on the world of a man who would soon become an accused killer.

He found more than 20 résumés, each tailored to a specific job application. One was for a police service, one for McDonald's, one for Wal-Mart. He also found dozens of photos that he assumed were taken by Mr. Li, including several of a black military plane that he thought were taken by an amateur in mid-air. There were photos of a formal Chinese military parade, and others of Chinese models in clothes, and some of mountains in British Columbia.

A letter in Mandarin, translated with Google's translator, seemed to be addressed to someone in China. It said he was happy to be free, living under beautiful, free skies, but that he felt guilty for leaving China, and that everything in Canada was not as he expected, Mr. Beatty said.

Mr. Li, who recently worked as a newspaper deliveryman, immigrated to Canada in 2001 under the federal skilled worker program, although it's not known whether it was Mr. Li or his wife Anna who qualified. He's believed to be a Canadian citizen.

On the morning after the attack, Mr. Beatty got a call from the RCMP at work, saying an incident had occurred involving the man who sold him his laptop. An officer visited his home and seized the computer, saying he might get restitution but wasn't likely to get the laptop back.

"I asked the cop, "Did he use my money to buy a weapon? But he said, 'No, not that we know of,' " Mr. Beatty said.

Mr. Li returned to the M&M store around 1:30 p.m. David said he stood waiting in an alley behind the store for the next 4½ hours for the bus to arrive.

Just before 6 p.m., he boarded the Greyhound in Erickson, not Brandon as several witnesses reported, and sat down near the front. After a cigarette break in Brandon, he moved to the back and sat next to Mr. McLean.

Court was told yesterday that when he was arrested, Mr. Li was carrying a plastic bag containing a human nose, ear and part of a mouth, believed to be Mr. McLean's, and that police officers saw him hacking at and eating the corpse. During the ensuing standoff RCMP officers heard him say, "I have to stay on the bus forever."

Mr. Li's next court appearance is Sept. 8.


Greyhound has scrapped an ad campaign that extolled the peaceful, worry-free upside of bus travel after the beheading of a passenger near Winnipeg.

The punch line of the ad was: "There's a reason you've never heard of 'bus rage.' "

Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said the company feels that the ad, launched last year, could be offensive and that it is no longer appropriate. She said the campaign was officially over before Tim McLean was beheaded last Wednesday, but that some ads are still up.

Ms. Wambaugh said Greyhound wants them to be removed as quickly as possible.

Vince Weiguang Li, 40, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the attack.

The Canadian Press