A 24-year-old Canadian actor charged with murdering his mother allegedly planned the assassination of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to prosecutors.
Young actor Ryan Grantham, who played Jeffery Augustine on the popular CW series Riverdale, pleaded guilty in March to shooting his mother, a 64-year-old woman named Barbara Waite, in the head while she was playing the piano.
The events occurred in the community of Squamish, British Columbia, on March 31, 2020, and Grantham is expected to be convicted on second-degree murder charges.
According to a report by Canadian broadcaster CBC, the prosecution presented on Monday the results of a psychiatric study according to which Grantham allegedly killed his mother to spare her the pain of witnessing his next act of violence: assassinating Prime Minister Trudeau.
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Grantham allegedly rehearsed the murder of his mother in advance, and even recorded videos in preparation for the events. The prosecution showed part of the videos as evidence to the court, in which the young man could be seen both admitting guilt and showing the scene of the crime.
Attorney Michaela Donnelly told the court that Grantham was “seeking to save his mother from something he was going to do” and that it goes far beyond mere “altruism.” “Barbara Waite loved her son very much, was an excellent parent and in her mind had no reason to fear him,” Donnelly said.
A CBC report released Tuesday indicates that, after murdering his mother, the young actor covered the body with a sheet, placed rosaries and candles around the piano, and proceeded to load his vehicle with three guns, ammunition, 12 Molotov cocktails, camping supplies and a map that would direct him to Rideau Cottage, Ottawa.
Grantham set out on a journey in his vehicle that would last about 50 hours with the goal of assassinating Trudeau, but stopped near the town of Hope and contemplated committing an act of mass violence at Simon Fraser University, where he was a student.
In a flash of sanity, Grantham turned himself in to local police later that night.
The killer’s sister, Lisa Grantham, told the court that she found the body on April 1 after a night of worry because her mother was not answering messages or calls.
“How can I trust anybody when my only sibling chose to execute my mom when her back was turned,” Lisa told the court.
According to two psychiatric reports, the young man had been suffering from clinical depression and was addicted to marijuana. The actor also kept a diary in which he expressed fears that his mother would find out that he had stopped attending college classes because of drug use.
The young killer starred in films and TV since he was nine years old, and participated in productions such as the TV series Riverdale, Supernatural and iZombie, as well as in the films Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
The hearing is expected to conclude this Wednesday. The usual sentence for second-degree murder is life imprisonment.