A former Riverdale actor who pleaded guilty to murdering his mother in British Columbia was planning to go to Ottawa to kill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, prosecutors say.
The details emerged as 24-year-old Ryan Grantham appeared in court this week for conviction in the April 2020 murder of Barbara Waite, CBC reported.
Grantham, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in March, admitted to shooting his mother in the back of the head while she was playing the piano at their Squamish townhouse, north of Vancouver.
The next day, 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 told the court.
The CBC reported that Grantham had written in a diary about his intentions to kill Mr Trudeau and in a statement to police.
He drove about 200 kilometers 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 was studying.
Instead, he drove to a Vancouver police station, where he told an officer, “I killed my mother.”
Grantham, who started professional acting at the age of nine, played the supporting role of Jeffrey Augustine on a 2019 episode of the CW show Riverdale. He also appeared in the TV show Supernatural and in the 2010 film Dairy of a Wimpy Kid.
The court heard the actor struggled with anxiety, self-loathing and depression in the months leading up to his mother’s murder and had expressed a desire to commit suicide or commit violence against others.
Ryan Grantham left his BC home with an arsenal of weapons to kill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, prosecutors say
He carried out the murder by secretly approaching his mother from behind with a gun, the court was told.
The court was shown footage taken with a Go-Pro camera of one of his walk-throughs.
In another shot after the murder, he films his mother’s body and says, “I shot her in the back of the head. In the moments after, she would have known it was me.”
Grantham told police in a statement that he spent the hours following the murder smoking marijuana, drinking beer and attempting to make Molotov cocktails.
The next day, he arranged candles around his mother’s body before driving off in his car.
His sister, Lisa Grantham, discovered her mother’s body that evening after repeated calls and messages went unanswered.
A sentencing hearing for former Riverdale actor Ryan Grantham in British Columbia heard that his mother, Barbara Waite, was an “excellent mother.”
(Canadian Femicide Observatory)
In a victim impact statement, she said her life was “devastated” by the murder and that her brother is a dangerous person, the CBC reported.
On the second day of the sentencing hearing, the court learned that Grantham suffered from intense clinical depression in the months leading up to his mother’s death.
Two psychiatric reports commissioned after the murder found he suffered from a cannabis use disorder after years of heavy use, but was able to appear to be functioning normally.
According to the two reports, Grantham told experts he wanted to kill his mother to spare her from witnessing the violence he planned to commit.
Prosecutor Michaela Donnelly told the court the 24-year-old committed a “heartbreaking breach of trust.”
“Barbara Waite loved her son dearly, was an excellent parent and, in her opinion, had no reason to fear him,” Ms Donnelly said, according to CBC.
Grantham was an experienced gun user who was a member of a gun club. He bought the .22 caliber in the months leading up to the murder, although he was aware of his homicidal feelings, she said.
Prosecutors have called for a minimum sentence of 17 to 18 years without parole.
The sentencing is ongoing.