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Man who killed Squamish mother experienced major depressive episode, court hears

Doctors found Ryan Grantham's depressed state influenced his decision-making.
B.C. Supreme Court
The B.C. Supreme Court second-degree murder sentencing submissions for Ryan Grantham continue June 15.

Warning: This story contains distressing details.

The man who killed his mother in their Squamish townhouse March 31, 2020 had suffered a major depressive episode and was both suicidal and homicidal, court heard Tuesday.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Ker heard the details as part of sentencing submissions for Ryan Grantham. The 23-year-old pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder following the death of his 64-year-old mother, Barbara Waite. 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 June 13.

Grantham 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.

The Crown is seeking a prison sentence with 17 to 18 years before parole eligibility.

Ker also heard Grantham had 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.

Donnelly said a report from psychiatrist Dr. Shabreham Lohrasbe examined the concept of Grantham being not criminally responsible for his acts due to a mental disorder but could not say definitively.

What Lohrasbe and Dr. Todd Tomita found was that Grantham’s depressed state influenced his decision-making.

“His mental health was a contributing factor,” Donnelly said.

Lohrasbe said Grantham’s mental state was characterized by instability and fragility.

The former actor was aware of his violent thoughts and struggled with them, court heard.

Both doctors diagnosed Grantham with a mood disorder and a substance use disorder. But, the judge was told, Grantham was capable of hiding what he was feeling and had no functional impairments.

Tomita could not identify any psychotic symptoms.

Grantham’s depression was marked by suicidal and homicidal urges which he eventually enacted by committing the offence, Tomita reported.

“He decided to kill her before he killed himself or other people,” Donnelly reported Tomita saying.

The sentencing hearing continues June 15. It is not known when Ker might give her decision.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

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