A young actor from British Columbia who contemplated killing the prime minister and fatally shot his own mother told a Vancouver court room the woman did nothing to deserve what happened.
Ryan Grantham, whose acting credits include a role on the Archie-Comics-inspired Netflix series “Riverdale,” was in court Wednesday for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Grantham, 24, told the court he thought about shooting and killing his mother for days leading up to her death on March 31, 2020.
The court heard Barbara Waite, 64, was playing piano in their Squamish, B.C., townhome when her son fired one fatal bullet.
“My mother was a caring, compassionate, loving person,” Grantham said in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday. “She did nothing to deserve what I did to her.”
He then lit some candles, hung rosaries over the piano and said a few prayers before leaving their home with a plan for more bloodshed, the court heard.
His family sat in the front row and was overcome with emotion as he apologized.
“In the face of something so horrible, saying sorry almost seems pointless. But from every fibre of my being, I am sorry,” Grantham said.
During his sentencing hearing, a forensic psychologist hired by the defence was quoted as saying that Grantham’s mental state at the time was “far from normal,” describing it as unstable, chaotic, ambivalent and fragile.
His lawyer, Chris Johnson, QC, argued Grantham’s depressive disorder, cannabis use and isolation all contributed to his actions.
The court heard he was procrastinating in his studies at Simon Fraser University and had not been acting in a while, and he’d rationalized his actions because he didn’t want his mother to see what he perceived as his failings.
Grantham’s acting career appears from film websites to have begun in 2007 with roles in TV movies. His credits include “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “iZombie” and “Supernatural.”
His last acting role was on “Riverdale,” in which be played a teenage boy who took his father’s truck without permission and accidentally killed Archie’s father, Fred. The episode centred around the fatal hit-and-run is a tribute to actor Luke Perry, who’d died of a stroke earlier in the year.
Grantham had no acting jobs after that.
The court also heard he was contemplating a killing spree and had a printed map of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, with a plan to execute Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“I was in a rush and he was the only person I could think of, the most important person in Canada. Like, I could do something to make an impact,” he told police at the time of his arrest, according to an agreed statement of facts.
The Crown prosecutor also outlined that Grantham was thinking about committing mass murders on the Lions Gate Bridge between Vancouver and North Vancouver, and at his university campus in Burnaby. He also considered suicide after fleeing his home, heading south and then east, the court heard. Instead he made the two-hour drive from Hope to Vancouver, where he turned himself in to police.
He told the court he’s now committed to trying to do the right thing.
“The only way I can possibly justify going on living is if I live the rest of my life in a way that she would’ve been proud of, to be a better, honest, good person,” Grantham told the court.
Johnson said his client is a much different person now than he was back in March 2020. He joined a men’s support group at his remand centre and is showing a willingness to ask for help.
Grantham has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, which carries with it a life sentence with parole ineligibility for 10 to 25 years.
The judge assigned to his case will deliver her decision at a later date.