Last March, Ryan Grantham, an actor on the series Riverdale, pleaded guilty to murdering his mother, Barbara Waite, by shooting while the 64-year-old woman was playing the piano at her home in Squamish, Canada, in 2020.
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Grantham, 24, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 14 years, according to a statement obtained by E! News of September 22 from BC Prosecution Services.
After the long-awaited trial, in which macabre and surprising details were revealed, this week Ryan Grantham was sentenced by the Supreme Court of British Columbia to life in prison for the murder of his mother.
According to what was published by E!, the sentence contemplates the possibility that he enjoy the parole regime after serving at least 14 years in prison.
The court also issued an order that he be banned from using firearms for life.
Life sentences and a ban on the use of firearms are mandatory for those convicted of second-degree murder in British Columbia, where the trial took place.
Once the sentence was known, the actor’s lawyer, Chris Johnson, told the media that his client had “worked very hard to change his life” after being arrested for killing his mother. “He has received a lot of psychological help and has felt bad about his actions and has confronted them,” he said in a statement.
He added: “But he hopes he can spend the rest of his life making amends.”
Details of the grisly case kept Americans on edge. Already during the first hours of the first session, the court heard how the actor admitted to having rehearsed the homicide, and even claimed to have recorded videos moments later. In those images, which were presented as evidence, he talks about the shooting of Barbara Waite and shows her body.
He also provided an unusual reason to justify the cold-blooded murder of his mother. “I didn’t want her to see the act of violence that she was going to commit.” It is that after having murdered her, the young man went in search of a second victim. Armed with three pistols, ammunition, Molotov cocktails, camping supplies and a map with directions, he drove into the Canadian East with the idea of ending the life of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
As CBC was able to reconstruct, Grantham left Squamish the day after his mother’s murder with her body inside the vehicle. Before leaving the crime scene, she tested one of the explosive bombs he had at his disposal. The trip was long. She drove for an estimated 50 hours.
He moved on to Hope County, where he stopped to think. It was there that he made the decision not to continue with his “mission” and change his route: now his plan was to commit acts of mass violence on the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver or at Simon Fraser University, where he is studying.
However, once again he changed his plans. Perhaps moved by guilt or exhaustion, he went to the Vancouver police department and confessed to his crime: “I killed my mother,” he told an officer.
In the middle of the trial hearing, prosecutor Michaela Donnelly presented two psychiatric reports on the mental state of the young man, who played Jeffrey Augustine in Riverdale.
Both reports agreed that Grantham was going through an intense period of clinical depression. In this sense, the possibility that the young man had experienced impulses to commit violent acts prior to the homicide, together with constant suicidal thoughts, was considered. A possible marijuana use disorder was also identified.
“Ryan’s motives for killing his mother might seem altruistic,” Donnelly pointed out, later making it clear that Barbara Waite had cancer. “However, Mr. Grantham was seeking to save his mother from something he was going to do…That is something other than altruism,” she continued.
For this reason, he insisted that what the young man committed was nothing more than a “heartbreaking breach of trust” because “it was a mother who loved her son very much and who had no reason to be afraid of him.”
Just on the last day of hearings, the accused revealed what he felt for his mother:
“I cannot explain or justify my actions. I have no excuse. It hurts me to think how much I wasted my life. In the face of something so horrible, asking for forgiveness seems so useless. But from every fiber of my being, I feel it. Someday, if I ever get out of prison, I hope to continue on this path of getting better,” he stated.
With information from E! and the nation