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Former B.C. child actor sentenced to life in prison for killing mother

Former Riverdale actor Ryan Grantham was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years for the 2020 murder of his mother in Squamish, B.C.
The ruling was handed down at in Vancouver at the B.C. Supreme Court

The former child actor charged with the second-degree murder of his mother in Squamish, B.C., has been sentenced to life in prison.

Ryan Grantham, 24, was known for his parts in popular TV series such as Riverdale, a show based on the Archie comics, as well as Supernatural and iZombie.

In her sentencing, handed down in a Vancouver courthouse Sept. 20, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Ker ruled Grantham will not be eligible for parole for the first 14 years of his sentence.

Grantham's lawyer, Chris Johnson, said the sentencing was not a surprise. 

“It was, I think, the lowest possible [sentence] we could expect given the circumstances,” said the lawyer. “...there's a lot of aspects to the case that are more equivalent to first degree [murder] than they are with second degree.” 

Johnson said the judge specifically recommended Grantham not be held in a maximum security institution because of “his young age and diminutive size.”

The ultimate decision on where Grantham will serve his sentence, however, will be up to the Correctional Service of Canada over the coming months.

The sentencing comes more than two years after Grantham’s 64-year-old mother, Barbara Waite, was found dead in a Squamish home.

In March, Grantham pleaded guilty to shooting Waite at their home on the 40000-block of Government Road on March 31, 2020.

An autopsy showed the cause of Waite’s death was a single gunshot wound to the head.

“He put the crosshairs on the back of her head, closed his eyes and pulled the trigger,” Crown prosecutor Michaela Donnelly said.

Leading up to the sentencing, the court heard that Grantham had considered shooting his mother on several occasions because he didn’t want her to find out about his poor school performance and marijuana smoking. 

After shooting her, the court heard he covered his mother with a sheet and went out to buy beer. 

Grantham later loaded up his car with weapons and downloaded Google directions to get to Rideau Cottage in Ottawa where he planned to assassinate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“He was the only person I could think of, the most important person in Canada,” he later told police.

“Killing Trudeau, that’s all I’ve got right now.”

Grantham made it as far as Hope, B.C., before turning around.

Grantham had also considered mass killings, including one at Burnaby’s Simon Fraser University. On March 5, 2020, Grantham sat in his car at SFU with a shotgun.

At one point, he considered climbing the Lions Gate Bridge and throwing Molotov cocktails before shooting people, the court heard.

He ultimately turned himself into police. 

At trial, Grantham’s sister described the murder of their mother as “cold-blooded.”

“Words cannot express how horrific and gut-wrenching this has been to go through,” Lisa Grantham told the judge. 

Grantham began his career as a child actor at age nine. At 11, he was cast for a role in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a 2009 film directed by Monty Python’s Flying Circus comedy team alumnus Terry Gilliam.

With files from Jeremy Hainsworth