Diary Of A Wimpy Kid actor Ryan Grantham pled guilty before Canada’s British Columbia Supreme Court to murdering his own mother and planning to assassinate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Crown prosecution initially sought first-degree murder charges against Grantham for the killing of his mother Barbara Waite on March 31, 2020, but the actor has pled to second-degree murder. In Canada, second-degree murder is defined as essentially being without premeditation; Ryan Grantham claimed that he had killed Waite by shooting her in the back of her head while she played piano in their home to spare her suffering for the violent acts he was planning on. Second-degree murder in Canada has a mandatory life sentence, and the Crown Prosecution is asking for Grantham to be sentenced to 17 to 18 years of parole ineligibility as part of that.
During the course of the trial, Crown Prosecution stated that Ryan Grantham had rehearsed the killing and showed a video he had made in which he confessed to Barbara Waite’s murder and showed her body on camera. Reportedly, following the killing, Grantham packed his car with a number of weapons (including three guns and 12 Molotov cocktails) and began driving to Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, a historic building in which Justin Trudeau and his family have lived since 2015. The journey from his home to Rideau Cottage is approximately 50 hours and at some point, he reportedly turned around with the idea of committing mass violence somewhere else (including his former school Simon Fraser University).
According to Crown Prosecutor Michaela Donnelly, several psychiatric examinations indicated that in the months leading up to Ryan Grantham’s murder of Barbara Waite, he was experiencing several clinical depression. However, he did outwardly appear to be well-functioning, which possibly could have prevented people around him from seeing danger signs. Apparently, Ryan Grantham was also experiencing increasing feelings of self-hatred and guilt (in part due to worry that his mother would discover he had dropped out of Simon Fraser University) and urges to commit violent acts. During this time period, he purchased one of the guns he would later pack in his aborted plan to assassinate Justin Trudeau.
Prior to this tragedy, Ryan Grantham was a child actor who had appeared in the 2010 family film Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the CW Archie Comics adaptation Riverdale, film director Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and the long-running dark fantasy series Supernatural. Per IMDb, his most recent roles were a 2019 episode of Riverdale and a television movie titled Undercover Cheerleader.
As a country, Canada has a low rate of gun violence, especially compared to the neighboring United States of America. That just makes Ryan Grantham’s actions all the more horrifying, and will no doubt become part of the ongoing discussion of mental illness and how it may affect or correlate with gun violence. Grantham’s sentencing is expected to be announced today after his defense counselors present their own findings and explanations. But regardless, it is a tragedy that Barbara Waite has been murdered and hopefully, some justice can be found for her surviving family.