In a case that reads like the plot of a TV police drama, an actor was sentenced to life in prison for killing his mother while she was playing the piano, shooting her in the back of head, and admitted to doing so in a recorded confession after the murder.
Ryan Grantham, 24, who is known for his role as Jeffrey Augustine in the supernatural horror crime TV show ‘Riverdale,’ received the sentence after having plead guilty to a second-degree murder charge for the death of Barbara Waite in 2020. The British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver handed down Grantham’s sentence on Wednesday, with Justice Kathleen Ker calling the case “tragic” and “heartbreaking” after having listened to the “life-shattering” victim impact statements, including one from Grantham’s sister. In Canada a second-degree murder charge means and automatic life sentence, but Grantham can still apply for parole after fourteen years.
According to CBC News as reported by the Daily Caller, in the recorded confession after his mother’s murder, Grantham showed his mother’s body, saying “I shot her in the back of the head. In the moments after, she would have known it was me.” Grantham then drove from the home in a “car packed with guns, ammunition and Molotov cocktails,” and intended to drive to Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s residence, and kill the PM. Instead, according to the CDC, he decided to commit a mass shooting at Simon Fraser University where he was a student, but somehow decided against it and instead turned himself into police.
Grantham wrote about his plan in his journal, the details of which are chilling, according to reports. He had planned to commit the murders with “three guns, ammunition and 12 Molotov cocktails,” and had also packed camping supplies and a map listing directions Trudeau’s residence. In the same journal he wrote about killing his mother, whose body was found the next day by his sister, Lisa, and asked her and his sister for forgiveness:
“I’m so sorry mom, I’m so sorry Lisa … I hate myself. There’s a lot of media of me out there … film and TV … hundreds of hours of me that can be viewed and dissected … No one will understand.”
Diary of a Wimpy Kid actor Ryan Grantham has been sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of his mother. pic.twitter.com/wB8RSdJBwr
— My Mixtapez (@mymixtapez) September 23, 2022
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The actor was reportedly despondent and felt isolated and plagued by “suicidal and homicidal” thoughts. Much of his time before the murder was spent smoking marijuana and drinking beer while watching violent videos online. Part of his sentencing includes receiving psychiatric help, and the court has noted that Grantham does appear to have expressed real remorse for his actions.
While Grantham may not be a household name, he has been acting most of his life, starting at age nine. He has been featured in other TV series besides “Riverdale,” including such shows as “Supernatural,” and “iZombie,” and also acted in the films “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.”
It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around a case as tragic as this, and all we can hope for is that Grantham gets the help he needs, his family is able to heal and forgive him, and that we as a society recognize feelings of hopelessness in young men well before they take the drastic step of committing acts of violence.