Author Blake Leibel sentenced to life in prison for mutilating and draining the blood from his fiancée's body before killing her
The tragedy is that the Ukrainian model Iana Kasian was reported to have been alive for almost eight hours while the brutal attack was being carried out.
The son of a wealthy Canadian property mogul has been sentenced to life behind bars without any parole after he murdered his former girlfriend. 37-year-old Blake Leibel was convicted the week before for torturing and killing the mother of his newborn daughter, Iana Kasian. According to reports, a Los Angeles court judge spoke of the "savagery" of the crime during the sentencing. The tragedy is that Kasian was reported to have been alive for almost eight hours while the brutal attack was being carried out. The authorities had found Leibel, a graphic novelist, locked up inside the West Hollywood apartment with the corpse of 20-year-old Kasian in May 2016. It was reported that she was scalped and the blood had been drained from her body.
Olga Kasian, the victim's mother, was in the courthouse during the entire duration of the trial. It was reported that she had called the authorities multiple times two years ago to report that her daughter was missing. According to ABC 7 News, she told the jury in the court in her victim impact statement before Leibel was sentenced: "There are no words to express the pain and despair in my heart. I never thought that one day my life would be broken."
Leibel is the son of real estate tycoon and one-time Olympic sailor, Lorne Leibel. He grew up in Toronto, Canada, and moved to California after getting involved in many projects that were more or less on the border of the entertainment industry. Leibel had published a disturbing graphic novel in 2010 that showed scenes of men being drained of their blood and many images of a woman shown lying on a blood-covered mattress.
The Associated Press reported that prosecutors in the case argued during the trial that the novel had been used as a "blueprint" for Kasian's murder. The trial began in Los Angeles earlier this week and the gory details of how the Ukainian model was killed were all revealed in the first couple of days in the court. Leibel pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, mayhem, and torture in the death. Kasian was also a new mom who had given birth to the couple's daughter just three weeks before she was brutally murdered.
Leibel was accused of mutilating and murdering Kasian in the West Hollywood apartment that the couple stayed in back in May 2016. According to a report by the National Post, a homicide detective and a medical examiner gave all the details about the injuries the model sustained during the violent assault. One of the officers, Sgt. William Cotter, testified in court that he found Kasian's body on the bed naked with severe trauma to her head with her right ear and her eyebrows cut off. He also said that there was blood on the mattress, headboard, drapes, and a lamp. Cotter also said that she had been covered with a Mickey Mouse blanket.
According to the Post, Los Angeles Chief ME Jonathan Lucas described the photos of the body and testified: "Her scalp is missing from the top of her head. There’s absence of tissue, we’re looking directly at bone." He then said that Kasian's heart was still beating while she was being tortured by Leibel and then pointed to the defensive marks on her hands to show that she had still been alive when the assault was taking place.
During closing arguments at the murder trial, Deputy Dist. Atty. Beth Silverman told jurors that Leibel had used a sharp object — perhaps the green paring knife or bloodied razor found in the couple’s bathroom — as well as his bare hands to cut and rip pieces of her scalp, reports LA Times.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef has said that this particular case seemed more like the script for a film and said that Leibel had followed one of his own graphic novels almost to the letter when he murdered his fiancee. She told The Hollywood Reporter: "It’s just more like a horror movie. It’s a tale of a gruesome and sadistic crime, a tale of a planned and calculated murder, a tortured murder."
Leibel's work includes a graphic novel called Syndrome, published in 2010, which is an inside look into the mind of a serial killer. Mokayef told the court during the trial that the murderer had come up with the idea of draining blood in this particular graphic novel of his. She said: "It's a graphic novel where his crime against Iana is detailed. You’ll hear from a co-author that will tell you that the concept of draining blood was thought up by this defendant and written about by this person."
The graphic novelist had inherited a lot of money from his mother, Eleanor Chitel Leibel, when she died in 2011. She was the heiress of the plastics company, Alros Products. So he was drawing in a decent amount of money.
Prosecutors in the case said the real estate heir was furious that his three-week-old daughter, was now the center of Kasian’s attention and so he decided to torture her. Local reports also mentioned that because of the gruesome nature of the murder, he was almost certainly headed for death row but in the eleventh hour it was taken off the table.