Life imitating art? Grisly murder resembles comic artist's plot
09/20/2016 1:13 pm PDT
UPDATE June 20, 2018:
Blake Leibel was found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated mayhem and torture, a D.A.'s news release stated. Jurors deliberated less than a day before reaching their verdict.
“It was just overwhelming evidence against the defendant for having attacked, scalped and mutilated his girlfriend and the mother of his daughter," said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef, who prosecuted the case along with Deputy D.A. Beth Silverman. KTLA-TV reports the developments.
Leibel was accused of torturing 30-year-old Iana Kasian before killing her in May 2016, prosecutors said. All of the blood was then drained from her body.
Story background below.
September 20, 2016:
Blake Leibel is a graphic novelist with a fascination with serial killers. Did his imagination and research into the minds of killers turn him into a murderer at his West Hollywood condo?
In an interview with Crime Watch Daily, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Captain Steven Katz reveals some of the chilling and gruesome details.
The Hollywood spotlight shines brightly on graphic novelist Blake Leibel, with mansions, a Ferrari, a model wife, and gorgeous girlfriends at his beck and call. Canadian-born millionaire Leibel is living the American dream in the glamorous and glitzy world of Hollywood, California, spoiled and filthy rich, reportedly living in a mortgage-free Beverly Hills mansion thanks to his father's trust fund, while writing horror stories and graphic comics.
Blake's father, Lorne Leibel, is a prominent real-estate tycoon in Canada, and the media has touted his brother, Cody Leibel, as the youngest Ferrari Enzo owner at just 23 years old. From his brother's some-time girlfriend Tara Reid, to gambling buddies Ben Affleck and Toby Maguire in an underground poker ring.
Cody Leibel, who's also a partner in several Hollywood hotspots and restaurants, reportedly kept his writing genius of a brother up to his eyeballs in bottle service and beautiful women, even introducing Blake to his future model wife at a Sunset Boulevard soiree.
Blake had it made: A successful writing career, a Beverly Hills address, a beautiful wife -- and soon, their first child.
Then, the announcement of Blake's second child -- by another woman. Blake actually had two babies on the way: One from his wife, and one from his beautiful secret girlfriend, a Ukrainian woman named Iana Kasian. Kasian lived on the other side of town and came from the other side of the world.
L.A. County sheriff's deputies are familiar with Blake Leibel: Reportedly just six days earlier, another one of Blake's girlfriends contacted cops, accusing him of sexually abusing her. He's facing felony rape charges when L.A. County sheriff's deputies come knocking once again. This time, the door is barricaded-- and behind it, a bloodbath.
In an interview with Crime Watch Daily, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Captain Steven Katz details the horrifying scene inside the apartment.
"There was clear signs of what appeared to be blood in several different areas of the residence as deputies initially made entry, and that clearly gave them great concern," said Katz. "Ultimately they made contact with the suspect in this case, who was inside the master bedroom behind a closed door."
Tragically, he is not alone in this horror scene. There's a female there too.
"The victim was found deceased. She had blunt-force trauma to the upper torso of her body," said Katz.
Friends say Blake Leibel had a dark and disturbing side, one that included multiple lovers and an obsession with brutality and blood.
Could a gruesome Hollywood murder have been foreshadowed in a graphic novel and carried out by the author himself?
A woman's lifeless body is discovered by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies inside the West Hollywood apartment of Hollywood horror writer, Blake Leibel. The body is disfigured but recognizable as Iana Kasian, his girlfriend and mother of their 3-week-old baby.
"As homicide detectives began to process the crime scene, and upon examination of the victim's remains, they found that the victim's body was devoid of any marked quantity of blood," said Katz.
Captain Katz confirms to Crime Watch Daily that Kasian's body has been drained of blood.
Blake Leibel was charged with murder, mayhem and torture of Iana Kasian.
Journalist Marc Ebner's sources in the Hollywood writing world say the bloody and brutal elements of the crime scene mirror the graphic words and images in Leibel's horror stories, especially in his novel Syndrome.
"I've talked to a lot of people who knew Blake, a lot of people in the industry, and quite frankly a lot of the people in the industry were freaked out by him because the things that he put into his work, into his graphic novel, that he conceptualized, for all appearances wound up being the playbook that he used for the crime," said Ebner.
Could this be a possible psychotic example of life imitating art?
Entertainment attorney Jeremy Tenser, Blake Leibel's longtime friend, claims Leibel may have written about monsters, but he certainly wasn't one.
"The misconception that as an artist he's this dark evil guy, when really he's not," said Tenser. "Every director, every graphic novelist, anybody out there who's creative, it's a creative outlet. It's absurd to draw comparisons."
Tenser, who has known Blake for more than 15 years, says no one can be sure what exactly happened in that apartment.
Blake Leibel is being held without bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles. His baby girl is now back in the Ukraine with Kasian's mother. He faces charges of mayhem, murder, and torture in the death of Iana Kasian. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Leibel still faces a felony rape charge in a separate alleged incident that occurred six days prior to the death of Iana Kasian.