Graphic Novelist Found Guilty of the Grisly Murder of Fiancée Who Slowly Died Next to Their Baby
The son of a Canadian millionaire was found guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday after he tortured his fiancée to death just weeks after she had given birth to their daughter.
Blake Leibel, 37, was found guilty of multiple felonies including mayhem and torture in the death of Iana Kasian in May 2016, according to the Associated Press.
Kasian, 30, had welcomed their daughter, Diana, just three weeks earlier.
The budding filmmaker and graphic artist is the son of Lorne Leibel, one of Canada’s wealthiest real estate developers and a one-time Olympic sailor, and Eleanor Leibel, a plastics heiress who died in 2011. Leibel was reportedly living on an $18,000 a month allowance.
The trust funder was perhaps best known for his graphic novel Syndrome — published in 2010 — in which a scientist experiments on a serial killer in order to find a cure for evil. The killer murdered a man by slitting his throat and hanging him by his ankles so he bled out.
Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman told jurors in court that the comic served as a “blueprint” for Kasian’s brutal murder, the AP reports.
Kasian was found in the pricey West Hollywood, California apartment she and Leibel shared, on a bed, drained of her blood, and missing her scalp.
Her autopsy results from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office showed that she died of blunt force trauma to the head, according to Fox News. She also had portions of her face torn off.
“This was depravity. Ms. Kasian died a slow and painful death. Her daughter will never know her, and that’s because of the unconscionable acts you heard about during this trial,” Silverman told the court.
It was Kasian’s mother, Olga, who first alerted police to the possible crime. The Ukranian, who speaks no English, alerted police to her missing daughter after dozens of missed text messages and phone calls.
It took multiple attempts for Olga to finally catch the attention of police, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Despite performing a welfare check at the West Hollywood apartment, police found no success. When Olga called 911, however, police arrived and broke into the apartment where they found Leibel lying in bed with Kasian’s corpse with Diana lying safely nearby.
Pieces of Kasian’s flesh were found on the bed, behind the mattress and on the floor while a bed sheet showed Leibel’s bloodied handprints, THR reported.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
In the basement of their apartment building, police also found 11 trash bags, some of which contained sheets covered in blood as well as Kasian’s body parts, including chunks of her hair and scalp, the publication reported.
“He threw away pieces of his fiancée like she was trash,” Silverman told the court. “The mother of his newborn baby.”
“He is a monster.”
According to KTLA, Silverman suggested his motivation for the gruesome killing was due to jealousy of losing Kasian’s attention to their daughter.
“The amount of cutting and tearing, the violence involved; that’s a lot of anger because she no longer was making him the number one most important thing in her life,” Silverman said in her closing arguments on Tuesday.
He will be sentenced on June 26 and faces the possibility of life in prison, KTLA reports.