Web of Lies: The Crossbow Killer
Brett Ryan was a man who lost control and committed a series of heinous crimes, leading to his eventual arrest by the Toronto police. Despite his guilt, the judge saw him as both the perpetrator and victim of the tragedy.
In 2007, 26-year-old Brett Ryan found himself $60,000 in debt and living in a large home on Conference Boulevard with his family, close to the border of Scarborough and Pickering.
This was not the life he envisioned for himself. Despite his friendly demeanor, Brett had been struggling. He had dropped out of university and was working as a house painter.
Desperate to escape his financial troubles, Brett turned to crime and robbed his first bank on October 20. Over the next eight months, he committed 12 more bank robberies, earning him the nickname “The Bearded Bandit” due to his disguise of bandages and a beard.
Eventually, Brett was caught by police and pleaded guilty. During his trial, his background as a generous volunteer was highlighted, and he received a lenient sentence.
Despite his criminal acts, Brett was described by the judge as a person of integrity and a productive member of society. With his big smile, warm eyes, and shaggy hair, Brett had the appearance of a friendly, laid-back individual, not someone you would expect to find committing bank robberies.
Judge Robertson found that Brett’s crimes were uncharacteristic and sentenced him to five years in prison, with the possibility of early parole.
By late 2010, Brett was back home with his family, eager to start a new chapter. However, life outside of prison proved to be challenging. Brett was unable to dodge his debt and declared bankruptcy.
He struggled to find employment as potential employers could easily discover his criminal record through a simple online search. Despite his attempts to restart his house-painting business, most clients were unwilling to let him into their homes.