In March 2020, the actor shot his mom, Barbara Waite, at their home in Squamish, British Columbia. He used a .22 rifle to kill her while she was playing the piano, according to Variety. The young actor then took a video recording of himself confessing to the crime.
The next day, he covered the body with a sheet, surrounded it with lit candles and hung a rosary from the piano, the outlet reported. Grantham loaded a car with guns, ammunition and Molotov cocktails and drove to Ottawa with the intention of killing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the publication noted.
But he then considered committing a mass shooting either at Simon Fraser University, where he was a student, or on the Lions Gate Bridge. Ultimately, Grantham chose to turn himself in for his mother’s murder rather than killing again.
Grantham’s sister Lisa said during the trial that the case was “tragic” and “heartbreaking.” She described her mother as her “best friend,” saying, “She was vulnerable and Ryan gave her no chance to defend herself. It pains me to know he was a danger to her life.” Lisa and her mother’s sister told the court they “fear [Grantham’s] release from prison.”
Judge Kathleen Ker called the actor’s decision to turn himself in rather than committing a mass shooting his “saving grace,” while noting that his actions had a “life-shattering” impact on the victim’s family, People reported.
Second degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence in Canada. He will be eligible for parole after 14 years, per CBC Canada.
The judge noted that Grantham had been experiencing mental health struggles for several weeks before he committed murder. He had also been looking at violent footage on the dark web, CBC reported.
Ker said the actor was getting psychiatric treatment in jail and was reportedly showing improvement, per CBC.
Grantham’s lawyer said his client wasn’t surprised by the life sentence.
“I think he anticipated what the judge gave him as a sentence,” attorney Chris Johnson said. “I think he’s pretty apprehensive about the whole thing. He’s a fairly tiny person, and to go to the prison system, I’m sure it’s a daunting and scary thought for him.”