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“Riverdale” actor and convicted murderer Ryan Grantham is concerned about his safety if he serves his sentence in a maximum-security prison, his attorney Chris Johnson said.
The 24-year-old Canadian was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 14 years after pleading guilty to the second-degree murder of his mother, Barbara Wyatt.
Johnson told Fox News Digital Grantham could be at greater risk of abuse in prison because of his “small” size and “young-looking” appearance.
A Vancouver-based criminal defense lawyer said the issue was first raised during court proceedings by presiding Justice Kathleen Kerr in Grantham’s case.
‘Riverdale’ actor sentenced to life in prison for killing mother, plot to kill PM Trudeau
According to Johnson, Judge Kerr requested that corrections officials send Grantham to a medium-security prison instead of a maximum-security facility.
Johnson said he shares her concern for Grantham’s safety because the former child actor is 5-foot-2, weighs “about 100 pounds” and “looks like a 17-year-old boy.
“My biggest concern is that he will be preyed upon by other inmates and perhaps abused by them. We send people to prison for both punishment and rehabilitation. And so I hope the latter happens. We don’t send people to prison so they can be bullied by other inmates. may be punished.”
Johnson explained that, in Canada’s court system, the court does not have the authority to decide which institution an offender spends time in. He said that once an offender is sentenced, correctional officers have authority over that decision.
“All the judges in our case can do is recommend,” Johnson said.
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) operates prisons at three levels of security: maximum, medium and minimum. Correctional officers evaluate many factors before deciding which security level is most appropriate for an offender.
“Almost inevitably someone convicted of first-degree or second-degree murder will end up in a maximum-security prison for at least two years,” Johnson said.
He added that Justice Kerr “asked us to find out whether it is absolute or whether there is an exception to it.”
“And we found that there can be an exception to this, which is you can make a request to the prison director,” Johnson said. “And, so essentially, she told us to do it.”
Johnson said he plans to send the request to the prison director this week. He told Fox News Digital Grantham’s pending trial is being held at the North Fraser Regional Pre-Trial Center in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.
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He will now be transferred to the Pacific Institute, a maximum, medium and minimum federal penitentiary in Abbotsford, British Columbia, until correctional officials classify him.
Johnson said Grantham had “almost no problems” in prison.
“But in pretrial, the inmate ratio is very high staffed and people are closely monitored,” Johnson said. “And that’s not the case when you go to maximum security. There’s less oversight.”
According to Johnson, Grantham is “terrified” about entering a maximum security prison, adding, “I think he’s nervous about it because of his age and appearance.”
Johnson said he is concerned about his client’s safety because the inmates who are in maximum-security prisons are “people who kill other people, people who are involved in gangs, dangerous criminals, sexual predators, people like that.”
Even though Grantham pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, his attorney said he should not be tortured while in prison.
“When people plead guilty, it doesn’t mean they’re saying, ‘Of course, I’m going to be raped and abused by other inmates.’ That’s not part of the deal,” Johnson said.
“I’m doing what I can. I’m not asking for any special treatment. This kid is definitely going to be punished. And, you know, he’s been sentenced to life in prison. He’s going to be in prison for at least 14 years. Years. But that means Not that he deserves to be abused by other prisoners.
“I like to say I did everything I could to stop it.”
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On March 31, 2020, Grantham shot his 64-year-old mother in the back of the head while she was playing the piano at their home in Squamish, British Columbia. Prosecutors said he loaded his car with a gun and Molotov cocktails the next day before driving to the home of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with the intention of killing Trudeau.
Grantham said he changed his mind and decided to do the mass shooting at his college, Simon Fraser University. In the end he did neither and instead turned himself into the Vancouver police and confessed to killing his mother.
Authorities say Grantham was motivated to kill his mother so she wouldn’t have to witness other violent acts.
The “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” actor was initially charged with first-degree murder. However, Johnson told Fox News Digital that Grantham underwent a psychological evaluation that showed he suffered from mental health disorders, including major depression, which allowed him to plead guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder.