'Riverdale' Actor Sentenced to Life in Prison Over Mother's Murder

Riverdale actor Ryan Grantham has been sentenced to life behind bars for the shooting death of his mother. The 24-year-old was sentenced Wednesday in the British Columbia Supreme Court approximately six months after pleading guilty to a second-degree murder charge for the death of his mom, Barbara Waite, in 2020. As prosecutors said, the actor captured the video of his confession with a camera he was using at the time, admitting, "I shot her in the back of the head. In the moments after, she would have known it was me." Grantham will not be eligible for parole for the first 14 years of his life sentence, CBC reported.

As she handed down the sentence, Justice Kathleen Ker described the case as heartbreaking, tragic, and life-altering. According to the outlet, Justice Ker read gripping statements from the victim's loved ones, including Grantham's sister, illustrating the tragedy's "life-shattering" impact. His "saving grace," she emphasized, was that he was aware enough of his actions to avoid going on a rampage. Ker stated that Grantham had experienced mental health issues weeks before the shooting and viewed violent videos on the dark web. According to CBC, Ker said he is receiving psychiatric treatment in jail and appears to be improving.

Chris Johnson, Grantham's lawyer, told CTV that Grantham was not surprised by the sentence. "I think he anticipated what the judge gave him as a sentence," 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." Ker also mentioned Grantham's "diminutive" size and said she would not recommend incarceration at a maximum security prison.

At age 21, Grantham shot his mother in the head while she was playing the piano at home. Following the March 31, 2020, murder, Grantham allegedly plotted to kill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. His car was loaded with three guns, ammunition, 12 Molotov cocktails, camping supplies, and a map showing the location of Rideau Cottage, where Trudeau lived with his family, reported CBC at the time. Instead of going to Trudeau's residence, Grantham turned himself in at Vancouver police headquarters. According to detectives investigating the case, Grantham confessed in a journal that he had intended to kill Trudeau.

According to CBC, according to two psychiatric reports, the actor had endured "an intense period of clinical depression" in the months leading up to the crime. The reports also indicated that Grantham was "experiencing urges to commit violence and kill himself." CBC added that Grantham chose to kill his mother "to spare her from seeing the violence he intended to commit."

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Grantham's sister Lisa Grantham found their mother on April 1, Complex reported. In her victim impact statement, Lisa said her mother was her "best friend. She was vulnerable and Ryan gave her no chance to defend herself. It pains me to know he was a danger to her life," she said, according to Complex. Both she and her mother's sister told the court they "fear his release from prison."