Ryan Grantham, the B.C. actor who pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of his mother Barbara Waite, has been sentenced to life in prison with parole ineligibility of 14 years.
In delivering the sentence in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Justice Kathleen Ker called the case tragic and heartbreaking, and said victim impact statements, especially from his sister, spoke to the "life-shattering" effects of the crime.
Second-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence. At question in the sentencing hearing was how long Grantham would have to wait before he can apply for parole.
In delivering the decision, Ker recounted a number of disturbing details revealed during Grantham's sentencing hearing this past June.
Then 21, Grantham shot Waite in the back of her head once with a .22 rifle as she played piano in their Squamish townhouse on March 31, 2020. A GoPro video Grantham took a short time after the murder was shown in court. In it he confesses to the murder and shows his mother's body.
The next day he covered the body with a sheet, arranged lit candles around it and hung a rosary from the piano before driving off in a car packed with guns, ammunition and Molotov cocktails, with the intention of travelling east to Ottawa to kill Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He drove to Hope, B.C., where he turned around with thoughts instead of committing a mass shooting at Simon Fraser University where he was enrolled, or on the Lions Gate Bridge. Later that night he drove to the Vancouver Police Department building in East Vancouver and turned himself in.
In her reasons, Ker called it a "saving grace" that Grantham had enough attachment to reality and psychological comprehension to elect not to go on a shooting rampage.
She summarized how Grantham was in a downward spiral in the months leading up to the matricide, spending an increasing amount of time smoking cannabis and watching violent videos on the dark web, while feeling isolated and consumed by suicidal and homicidal urges.
Ker said she considered Grantham's mental health difficulties at the time of the murder a mitigating circumstance. She noted that Grantham was seeking psychiatric help in prison and receiving positive reviews about his behaviour and progress.
She said Grantham appeared truly remorseful. In June, he addressed the court and delivered an apology, saying his mother was a caring and compassionate person who did not deserve what he did to her.
Grantham started acting in film and television when he was nine years old. His credits include the B.C.-filmed TV series Riverdale, Supernatural and iZombie, and the films Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.