The Manitoba Criminal Code Review Board announced Friday that they have given Baker an absolute discharge and now does not need to be monitored. However, he will not be living in the vicinity of any members of the Manitoba Criminal Review Board.
Baker is a diagnosed schizophrenic who killed Tim McLean, a carnival worker who was a complete stranger to Baker. A year after the beheading Baker was found not criminally responsible due to mental illness.
The victim's mother, Carol de Delley, was outspoken against freeing Baker saying there is no way he could be monitored to ensure medication compliance. But she declined comment in a Facebook Friday post saying: "I have no words."
Initially, Baker was confined to a secure wing of the psychiatric hospital but was given more freedom every year as he didn't tend to behead anyone.
He's been living alone in a Winnipeg apartment, eh, since November, while still being monitored to ensure he was being compliant with his meds.
Baker's doctor Jeffrey Waldman, who lives nowhere near Baker, told the board that he is confident the patient will remain on his medication and continue to work with his treatment team if released. He added that Baker knows that it's the medication that keeps him from wanting to kill strangers.
The review board's decision said it "is of the opinion that the weight of evidence does not substantiate that Mr. Baker poses a significant threat to the safety of the public."
Dr. Waldman said Baker will visit his native China if released but would live in Winnipeg for the next two or three years. He is on the list for a post-secondary training program, perhaps focusing in on taxidermy or a similar area that involves using sharp instruments. Whatever it is, he plans to establish a career in the city.
Baker has been in Canada since 2001 and became a citizen four years ago.
The incident Baker was institutionalized for occurred when he sat next to 22-year-old McLean on the bus after he smiled and asked how he was doing. Then Baker said he heard the voice of God telling him to kill the man or "die immediately."
It isn't certain how he knew it was God and not simply the radio in his brain.
He then repeatedly stabbed McLean as passengers beat a "hasty Iraq army-style retreat" off the bus. The immigrant continued stabbing and mutilating the body before he was arrested. He severed McLean's head and displayed it to some of the passengers outside the bus, witnesses said.
Canada's Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that a review board must order an absolute discharge if a person does not pose a significant threat to the public, and that there must be clear evidence of a significant risk to the public for the review board to continue imposing conditions after the perpetrator is found not criminally responsible.
Conservative Parliament member James Bezan criticized Baker's release.
Many American conservatives concur.