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'Riverdale' Actor Gets Life In Prison For Fatally Shooting His Mom While She Played Piano

Ryan Grantham, who starred in "Riverdale" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," will be eligible to apply for parole after 14 years. 

By Jill Sederstrom
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“Riverdale” actor Ryan Grantham has been sentenced to life in prison for shooting his mother in the back of the head as she played piano in their home north of Vancouver.

Grantham, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, was handed the sentence Wednesday in the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver. The 24-year-old won’t be eligible for parole for 14 years, according to Canada's CBC.

A second-degree murder conviction in Vancouver is subject to an automatic life sentence, but Judge Kathleen Ker was given discretion on when Grantham—who also had minor roles in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “Supernatural" and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”—would be allowed to apply for parole.

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She settled on 14 years after discussing the disturbing nature of the crime, calling the case both heartbreaking and tragic.

Grantham admitted to killing his 64-year-old mother Barbara Waite by shooting her in the back of the head with a .22 rifle on March 31, 2020 as she played the piano in the family’s townhome.

He discussed the killing at a hearing in June, where he recounted how he had recorded a video of her body using his GoPro shortly after the shooting.

Ryan Grantham

“I shot her in the back of the head,” he said in the video, according to Fox News. “In the moments after, she would have known it was me.”

Grantham spent the next hours drinking beer and smoking marijuana, before covering his mother’s body with a sheet, hanging a rosary from the piano and lighting candles around the body, prosecutors said.

He had allegedly wanted to continue his killing spree and planned to take out Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at his Rideau Cottage, prosecutors said. He loaded his car with three guns, 12 Molotov cocktails and directions to the politician’s home, but decided to turn around about 120 miles outside of Hope, the BBC reports.  

Prosecutors said that after aborting the plan, he thought about carrying out mass violence at Simon Fraser University, which he had attended, or Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge, but ultimately drove to a Vancouver police station, where he turned himself in and bluntly admitted, “I killed my mother.”

Ker called his decision not to cause any further violence his “saving grace,” CBC reports.

In the months leading up to the fatal shooting, Grantham had slipped into a dark world and often spent his time watching violent videos on the dark web and smoking weed.

He expressed remorse for killing his mom in court in March, according to Deadline.

“In the face of something so horrible, saying sorry seems so pointless,” he said. “But from every fiber of my being, I am sorry.”

The actor has been in jail for the last two-and-a-half years and has been making progress in his mental health programs, authorities said.

Grantham, whose acting career began in 2007, had a memorable role in “Riverdale” as Jeffrey Augustine, a boy responsible for killing the late Luke Perry’s character Fred Andrews in a hit-and-run.

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