In a disturbing story, Canadian actor Ryan Grantham has pled guilty to both second-degree murder and plotting to kill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The actor had appeared on the hit CW show Riverdale in 2019 as well as 2010’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the 2009 Terry Gilliam movie The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Ryan Grantham pled guilty before the British Columbia Supreme Court, which will decide his sentence; in Canada, a second-degree murder in Canada in primarily defined as being without premeditation and has a minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for ten years. It may be as long as life in prison without the possibility of parole for twenty-five years for Ryan Grantham.
According to CBC News, Ryan Grantham killed his mother Barbara Waite on March 31, 2020, shooting her in the back of the head while she played piano in their home. His sister, Lisa Grantham, discovered the body the next day after not being able to contact either the actor or his mother and later read a statement in court. After the murder, Ryan Grantham reportedly packed a car with three guns, ammunition, a number of Molotov cocktails, and accompanying paraphernalia. According to his confession and journal, he intended to drive to Ottawa to assassinate Justin Trudeau. At some point during the journey, he tested one of the Molotov cocktails and then later turned back to turn himself in to the Vancouver police.
While Ryan Grantham confessed to the second-degree murder of his mother, the Crown prosecutors initially sought to describe the killing as closer to first-degree murder, which is to say, pre-meditated. According to the actor, Grantham killed his mother to spare her having to find out about the other violent acts he planned to do, which at one point reportedly included a possible mass shooting at Simon Fraser University, which he had formerly attended. Canada has had two major incidents of mass shootings in recent history and swiftly reacted with gun legislation after them. Currently, the United States has been experiencing a tragic and horrifying series of mass shootings that do not seem to have an end in sight.
Two psychiatric examinations of Ryan Grantham concluded that he was experiencing intense clinical depression in the period leading up to the murder of his mother. He was also experiencing recurrent violent urges and self-hatred. During this period, he apparently purchased one of the three guns he packed in the vehicle and was outwardly well-functioning.
The plans of individuals like Ryan Grantham to commit mass shootings and assassinate politicians have become a hot-button topic in recent years, as they have quickly increased in number and severity. While Grantham, fortunately, turned himself in before reaching Ottawa, it was also tragically not enough to have saved his mother. The overlap between gun ownership and mental health is also much discussed in Canada and the United States, with hopefully more action being taken across the world to help prevent events like this in the future. RIP Barbara Waite.