Killer feared mom would ex­pose lies

Ryan pleads guilty to slay­ing mother, brothers weeks be­fore wed­ding

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - BREN­NAN DO­HERTY

A Toronto man was for­mally handed a life sen­tence Fri­day af­ter plead­ing guilty to the so­called “cross­bow killings” of his mother and two brothers last Au­gust.

The mur­ders hap­pened just three weeks be­fore he was to marry a phys­io­ther­a­pist in Hamil­ton.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment of facts agreed upon by both the Crown and de­fence, Brett Ryan, 36, de­cided to kill his mother af­ter she threat­ened to ex­pose that he’d been ly­ing to his fi­ancée about his ed­u­ca­tion and work his­tory.

He had told his fi­ancée that he grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Toronto with a physics de­gree in April 2016, and that he’d se­cured a job at an IT com­pany a month later, the state­ment said.

In fact, the state­ment reads, Ryan had taken a se­mes­ter off from school at the start of the 2015 fall se­mes­ter, and he was let go from the IT job be­fore it even be­gan be­cause of his crim­i­nal record — in 2009, he pleaded guilty to rob­bing eight banks over an eight-month stretch.

Five days be­fore the mur­ders, he told his mother, Su­san Ryan, that he didn’t have a job and that he lied to his fi­ancée, the state­ment said. Su­san Ryan said she’d sup­port him fi­nan­cially for a short time but in­sisted that he ad­mit his lies to his fi­ancée.

Brett Ryan planned to marry in Septem­ber 2016, but he wor­ried that if his fi­ancée found out about the de­ceit, their re­la­tion­ship would be fin­ished.

So Ryan planned to kill his mother, the state­ment reads, and days be­fore her death, he planted a cross­bow in his mother’s garage.

The state­ment said Ryan vis­ited his mother on Aug. 25, 2016, to try to con­vince her not to ex­pose his lies.

An in­tense ar­gu­ment be­tween the two led the mother to phone her el­dest son, Christo­pher, ask­ing him to come over and help her deal with Brett Ryan.

Dur­ing the ar­gu­ment Brett Ryan stepped into the garage and got his cross­bow. His mother fol­lowed, the state­ment said.

Brett Ryan then stabbed his mother with a cross­bow bolt and stran­gled her to death, ac­cord­ing to the au­topsy. When Christo­pher ar­rived at the house, Brett Ryan shot him in the back of the neck with a cross­bow, the state­ment reads.

An­other of the brothers, Alexan­der Ryan, con­fronted Brett Ryan as he left the garage. The state­ment said Brett Ryan then stabbed him with a cross­bow bolt and left him bleed­ing on their drive­way. He later died of his wounds.

Leigh­land Ryan, a third brother, was in­side the house when the mur­ders hap­pened. He called for help af­ter see­ing Brett Ryan stand­ing over Alexan­der Ryan’s body, the state­ment said.

Brett Ryan fol­lowed him back into the house and as­saulted him to get rid of any wit­nesses. Leigh­land Ryan sur­vived, fled the house and man­aged to get to a neigh­bour’s house, who called po­lice.

The state­ment said Brett Ryan was ar­rested by po­lice near the front steps of his mother’s home.

“The guys in the garage are dead. Cross­bow to the head. It’s me. I’m ad­mit­ting to ev­ery­thing,” Ryan said to po­lice at the time.

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