From an early age, Ryan Grantham showed promise as an actor, and soon opportunities were heading his way. His career started when he was only nine and at school in Vancouver, Canada, and like many young actors he appeared first in an advert before moving on to bigger roles.

In an episode of US show Supernatural, he played a kid who turns his superpowers on bullies. He also had roles in American TV series iZombie and movie The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus.

After a notable part in the 2010 film Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, he got his big break in The CW show Riverdale, a teenage horror series based on characters from Archie Comics.

Actors Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse found fame in Riverdale, and the show put Grantham firmly in the spotlight. He played Jeffery Augustine, the hit-and-run killer of Fred Andrews, played by Luke Perry, who died of a stroke in 2019.

Grantham was supported in his desire to become an actor by his devoted 64-year-old mother Barbara Waite and his younger sister, Lisa. Barbara, known as Barbie, was compassionate and an animal lover who liked to get outdoors in the countryside.

In 2020, Grantham, then 21, was living with her in Squamish, just north of Vancouver. But while he’d secured about 30 acting roles, his life wasn’t going to plan.

Away from the glamour of the film and TV sets, he’d become depressed and was using marijuana. He had enrolled at Simon Fraser University, but was missing classes and, essentially, dropped out.

On 1 April, his sister Lisa became concerned after not hearing from their mother. She wasn’t answering her calls or returning texts. When Lisa got to the family home, she was aghast to find Barbara lying dead next to the piano she loved to play.

She had a gunshot wound to the head and her body had been covered with a sheet.

And Lisa’s brother was missing – but not for very long. Later that same day Grantham walked into a Vancouver police station and told the officer at the desk, “I killed my mother.”

His car parked outside was found to be full of weapons, while a printed map showed the location of the home of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

Grantham confessed to killing his mother the previous day. She had been playing the piano when he walked up behind her, pointed a .22 rifle at the back of her head and pulled the trigger.

Afterwards, using his GoPro camera, he made a video that was played at his trial. Filming his mother’s body, he said, “I shot her in the back of the head. In the moments after, she would have known it was me.”

He covered Barbara’s body with a sheet and watched Netflix as he drank beer and smoked marijuana. Then he went to bed.

The next day, he lit some candles and hung a string of rosary beads from the piano before loading up his car with three guns, ammunition and 12 Molotov cocktails.

After adding camping supplies and printing off a map, he headed east towards the home of Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, Ontario. On the way, he stopped in a remote area to test one of his homemade Molotov cocktails.

But as he approached the town of Hope in British Columbia he had a change of heart and turned around, giving himself up at the police station instead.

When asked what he had planned to do, Grantham claimed to have been on his way to assassinate the Canadian prime minister as he wanted to carry out an act of violence.

“He was the only person I could think of, the most important person in Canada,” the actor said. He had also considered attacking Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge and his own university.

His 31 March diary entry read, “I’m so sorry Mum, 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.”

Grantham was first charged with first-degree murder. But in March this year, having already spent two and a half years in custody, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

His lawyers told the court that in the lead-up to the shooting, Grantham had been suffering from anxiety and depression. He had written about harming both himself and others in his journal.

The court listened to a statement from Grantham.

“In the face of something so horrible, saying sorry seems so pointless. But from every fibre of my being, I am sorry. I cannot explain or justify my actions.

“I have no excuse. It hurts me to think about how badly I’ve wasted my life,” he said.

Grantham’s psychiatric evaluations concluded that he had killed his mother to stop her from witnessing his violence.

But the prosecution argued that the actor had many opportunities to change his mind about committing the crime.

Before murdering his mother he had rehearsed walking up behind her with a gun. On the day of the killing, he had loaded and reloaded his gun several times and sat outside the house for a while, considering his actions.

Then he went inside and shot her dead as she was innocently playing the piano.

The prosecution argued that the murder had been a selfish act and a “heartbreaking breach of trust” and not, as Grantham had suggested, an altruistic act to spare her from seeing the violent acts he was planning to carry out.

It was pointed out in court that he had experience of firearms and was a former gun club member. He had bought a new weapon shortly before the killing – despite the knowledge that he was plagued by violent thoughts and emotions.

In September, 24-year-old Grantham was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period of 14 years before becoming eligible
to apply for parole.

His tearful sister made a victim impact statement to the court about the death of her “best friend” and revealed that Barbara had been diagnosed with cancer not long before her death.

“How can I trust anybody when my only sibling chose to execute my mum when her back was turned?” she asked.

“She was vulnerable, and Ryan gave her no chance to defend herself. It pains me to know he was a danger to her life.”

The judge described the case as tragic and life-shattering.

She added that since being in prison, Grantham had been seeking psychiatric help and good reports had emerged of his behaviour there.

Following the sentencing, and in response to an article that described Grantham as a “ Riverdale actor”, Lili Reinhart, who plays the show’s Betty Cooper, tweeted, “We do not claim him, thank you.”

Original Article