Ryan Grantham, who played Jeffery Augustine in the teen drama Riverdale, has been sentenced to life in prison after admitting to murdering his mother and plotting to kill Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau.
The 24-year-old actor was sentenced at British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver on Wednesday. After being initially charged with first-degree murder, the former child star pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Grantham shot his 64-year-old mother, Barbara Waite, on March 31, 2020. Waite was playing piano in the family’s Squamish, British Columbia home when Grantham shot her at the back of the head.
Prosecutors said that Grantham recorded a Go-Pro video after killing his mother. In the video, the actor filmed his mother’s body while saying: “I shot her in the back of the head. In the moments after, she would have known it was me.”
According to prosecutors, the young actor wanted to shield his mother from witnessing the violent acts he planned to commit after. Grantham’s sister, Lisa, found Waite’s body later.
After smoking marijuana and drinking beer for hours following the murder, Grantham allegedly packed his car the next day with three guns, ammunition, and 12 Molotov cocktails. He also loaded camping supplies and directions to Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau’s residence.
However, after driving roughly 200 kilometers east to the town of Hope, Grantham turned himself into Vancouver Police Department that night, where he told a police officer: “I killed my mother.”
CBC reports that Justice Kathleen Ker considered it a saving grace that the actor chose not to proceed with killing the prime minister. Kathleen noted that Grantham was receiving counseling in prison. Grantham has been in custody for the past two and a half years.
The young actor had reportedly considered committing an act of mass violence at Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge or at Simon Fraser University, where he had been a student.
During the trial, Grantham’s lawyers argued that the actor had been struggling with clinical depression and anxiety and that he had expressed a desire to commit suicide and harm others in the months before he killed his mother. Prosecutors believe that Grantham’s depression was exacerbated by watching gory online videos, isolation, and smoking too much cannabis.
In 2019, Grantham appeared in one episode of the CW network show “Riverdale” and featured in the 2010 film Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the fantasy drama Supernatural.
Grantham is ineligible for parole for the next 14 years.
The actor reportedly apologized to his family in a journal entry written the day of the killing. “I’m so sorry, mom; I’m so sorry, Lisa … I hate myself. There’s a lot of media of me out there … film and TV … hundreds of hours of me that can be viewed and dissected … No one will understand,” he wrote.