Ex-Riverdale actor Ryan Grantham gets life sentence after murdering mother and plotting to kill Justin Trudeau

·3-min read
Ex-Riverdale actor Ryan Grantham gets life sentence after murdering mother and plotting to kill Justin Trudeau

A former Riverdale actor who pleaded guilty to murdering his mother and allegedly plotted to kill Canadian PM Justin Trudeau will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Ryan Grantham, 24, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the first 14 years at British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver on Wednesday, the CBC reported.

Grantham, who pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder in March, admitted to shooting his mother in the back of the head as she played piano in their townhouse in Squamish, north of Vancouver, on 31 March 2020.

A day after the murder, the former child star packed a car with three guns, ammunition, 12 Molotov cocktails, camping supplies and a Google map with directions to Mr Trudeau’s Rideau Cottage residence, prosecutors said. He had also allegedly written in a diary about his intentions to kill Mr Trudeau and in a police statement.

He drove about 200 kilometres east to the town of Hope before turning around, and contemplated committing an act of mass violence at Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge or at Simon Fraser University, where he had been a student. Instead, he drove to a Vancouver police station where he told an officer: “I killed my mother.”

A British Columbia sentencing hearing for former Riverdale actor Ryan Grantham heard his mother Barbara Waite was an ‘excellent parent' (Canadian Femicide Observatory)
A British Columbia sentencing hearing for former Riverdale actor Ryan Grantham heard his mother Barbara Waite was an ‘excellent parent' (Canadian Femicide Observatory)

Grantham started acting professionally at the age of nine and played the supporting role of Jeffrey Augustine in one episode of the CW show Riverdale in 2019. He has also appeared in the TV show Supernatural and the 2010 film Dairy of a Wimpy Kid.

During the trial, his defence argued that had been struggling with anxiety, self-loathing and clinical depression, and had expressed a desire to commit suicide or violence against others in the months leading up to his mother’s murder.

He carried out a walk-through of the murder by secretly approaching his mother from behind with a gun, the court was told, and footage captured on a Go-Pro camera of one of his walk-throughs was shown as evidence.

In one of the videos taken after the killing, he filmed his mother’s body while saying: “I shot her in the back of the head. In the moments after, she would have known it was me.” Grantham then spent the hours after the murder smoking marijuana, drinking beer, and trying to make molotov cocktails.

Prosecuotrs said that Grantham was also plotting to kill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Prosecuotrs said that Grantham was also plotting to kill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The next day he arranged candles around his mother’s body before setting off in his car. His sister discovered their mother’s body that evening after repeated calls and messages went unanswered.

Two psychiatric reports commissioned after the murder found that Grantham had a cannabis use disorder after years of heavy use, but was able to maintain an outward appearance that he was functioning normally. According to the reports, Grantham told experts he wanted to kill his mother to spare her from witnessing the violence he was planning to commit.

Grantham was an experienced gun user who had been a member of a gun club. He had purchased the .22 calibre rifle in the months leading up to the homicide while aware of the homicidal feelings he was having, prosecutors said.