The graphic novelist who was found guilty of brutally torturing and scalping his fiancée just weeks after she gave birth was sentenced to life in prison

By Alexia Fernández
June 26, 2018 09:40 PM
Advertisement

The graphic novelist who brutally tortured and scalped his fiancée just weeks after she gave birth will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Blake Leibel, 37, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

Last week, Leibel was found guilty for the first-degree murder of Iana Kasian, who was found drained of her blood, scalped and tortured in their West Hollywood apartment in May 2016.

Kasian, who was 30 at the time of her death, had welcomed a baby girl named Diana just three weeks earlier.

Her mother, Olga Kasian, appeared in court for the sentencing and delivered a statement referring to her granddaughter.

Blake Leibel in court Tuesday
| Credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty

“The life of this little angel began with the fact that her father massacred her mother,” she said through a Russian interpreter, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Kasian grew up in Ukraine with her parents and sister, went to law school and prosecuted tax crimes there, according to the Times. She immigrated to the United States in 2014.

Leibel’s background differed greatly from Kasian’s. While his graphic novels did not have a lot of commercial success, he was reportedly living on an $18,000 a month allowance as his father is Canadian construction tycoon Lorne Leibel.

It was after the birth of Diana that Olga became worried about her daughter after dozens of missed calls and text messages.

Iana Kasian
| Credit: Facebook

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.

Leibel is best known for his 2010 graphic novel Syndrome 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.

Silverman told jurors that Syndrome served as a “blueprint” for Leibel in Kasian’s “very slow, excruciating, painful” death, the Times reported.

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.

• 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.

“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.