Actor Ryan Grantham, who pleaded guilty in March to the second-degree murder of his mother, had also planned to kill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Grantham, 24, admitted at his sentencing Monday that had rehearsed the killing of his mother, 64-year-old Barbara Waite, in their townhouse in British Columbia. As part of his sentencing hearing, the court was shown videos taken by Grantham in the hours after Waite’s death, where he admitted to coming up behind her as she played the piano and shooting her in the head.
“I shot her in the back of the head. In the moments after, she would have known it was me,” Grantham can be heard saying in a video recording seen by the court.
Grantham also wrote in his diary of a desire to kill Trudeau. The day after Grantham murdered Waite, the actor set out on a 50-mile drive east to Ottawa with three guns, ammunition, 12 Molotov cocktails, camping supplies and a Google map with directions to Trudeau’s Rideau Cottage.
After driving over 100 miles east, Grantham turned around and contemplated committing an act of mass violence instead at his university or in Vancouver. Instead, he turned himself into Vancouver police and confessed to killing his mother.
Canadian prosecutor Michaela Donnelly said Grantham was experiencing what two psychiatric reports determined was an intense period of clinical depression in the months before he murdered his mother. According to the reports, Grantham was experiencing urges to harm himself and others, ceased attending classes at Simon Fraser University and suffered from what they called a cannabis disorder.
Donnelly described Grantham’s motivation to murder Waite as a way to “protect” her from the subsequent violence he thought he would commit. This, Donnelly said, did not take away from the crime being a “profoundly selfish act” that should not in any way be construed as altruism.
“Barbara Waite loved her son very much, was an excellent parent and in her mind had no reason to fear him,” said Donnelly. “Mr. Grantham was seeking to save his mother from something he was going to do … That is something different than altruism.”
Prosecutors are reportedly seeking to deny Grantham parole for the first 17 to 18 years of his sentence.