Kristen Baxter knew all about Brett Ryan’s bizarre and inexplicable stint as a bank robber and she was willing to marry him anyway.
But there was another secret he couldn’t tell her — one he deemed so mortifying that when his mother and brothers threatened to expose the truth before the wedding, Ryan murdered them before they could.
Almost a decade ago, Ryan’s break up with another girlfriend had triggered a depressive episode in Ryan that led to him to commit a series of heists in Canada disguised as an elderly man, earning him the nickname “Fake Beard Bandit.”
But the spree was so out of character for the sweet, popular Ryan that the judge rejected the 10-year sentence requested by prosecutors and gave him just three years and nine months.
Good behavior resulted in the Parole Board of Canada granting Ryan day release after just 15 months, noting that he did not suffer from major mental illness, psychopathy or have a history of violence.
In fact “this circumstance has reconnected you to your family,” the board wrote.
Seven counselling sessions (a condition of his day parole) later, a psychologist treating Ryan declared that he no longer needed therapy.
“You remain a low risk for offending,” the board wrote in 2011 in granting him full parole.
Just six years later, Ryan strangled his mother Susan and shot his brothers Christopher and Alexander to death with a crossbow in a triple homicide on August 25, 2016 that shocked Canadians.
The “Fake Beard Bandit” had morphed into “The Crossbow Killer.”