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'In every fibre of my being, I am sorry,' says Squamish man who killed mother

Mental illness contributed to a Squamish man's killing of his mother but not to the degree of not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.
The Scales of Justice statue at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
The statue of the Goddess of Justice Themis at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

Warning: This story contains distressing details.

His voice breaking, the man who killed his mother in their Squamish townhouse March 31, 2020 apologized to his family, particularly his only sibling, for the pain he has caused.

“She did nothing to deserve what I did to her,” Ryan Grantham said June 15 of shooting Barbara Waite, 64. “I cannot express or justify my actions.”

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder. An autopsy showed the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head.

“He put the crosshairs on the back of her head, closed his eyes and pulled the trigger,” Crown prosecutor Michaela Donnelly said June 13.

Grantham said he feels guilt and pain every day.

“That hurt is nothing compared to the pain that I inflicted on my sister.”

“I am sorry in every fibre of my being,” he said. “I am sorry to everyone whose lives I have changed forever by my actions.”

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Ker heard the apology as part of sentencing submissions June 15.

Grantham was known for his parts in popular TV series such as Riverdale, a show based on the Archie comics, as well as Supernatural and iZombie.

The Crown is seeking a prison sentence with 17 to 18 years before parole eligibility. Defence lawyer Chris Johnson asked for 12 years.

Ker also heard Grantham had considered mass killings, including one at Burnaby’s Simon Fraser University. On March 5, 2020, Grantham sat in his car at SFU with a shotgun.

Grantham also planned to drive to Ottawa to assassinate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he killed his mother.

Instead, he turned back from Hope and turned himself in to the Vancouver Police Department.

“Before I turned myself into police, I was sitting in my car with my gun against my head,” Grantham said.

He said it was only the thought of his mother that kept him from pulling the trigger.

“I took from the world a beautiful life so I owe the world a life,” he said.

On June 14, Donnelly said a report from psychiatrist Dr. Shabreham Lohrasbe examined the concept of Grantham being not criminally responsible for his acts due to a mental disorder but could not say definitively.

What Lohrasbe and Dr. Todd Tomita found was that Grantham’s depressed state influenced his decision-making. Court heard Grantham was suicidal and homicidal.

Johnson said Grantham’s thinking made the killing out to be an act of altruism in his head.

“This killing was not done out of hatred or animosity,” Johnson said. “It was done in Mr. Grantham’s disordered thinking to prevent Ms. Waite from seeing what he thought he was about to do.”

“He decided to kill her before he killed himself or other people,” Donnelly reported Tomita saying.

“His mental health was a contributing factor,” Donnelly said.

Lohrasbe said Grantham’s mental state was characterized by instability and fragility.

The former actor was aware of his violent thoughts and struggled with them, court heard.

Both doctors diagnosed Grantham with a mood disorder and a substance use disorder. But, the judge was told, Grantham was capable of hiding what he was feeling and had no functional impairments.

Tomita could not identify any psychotic symptoms.

Ker said she would reserve her decision until a later date.

She questioned lawyers on where Grantham might be incarcerated. She mentioned Kent Institution, a maximum security prison in Agassiz.

“Obviously, he’s going to a penitentiary,” the judge said.

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