Hollywood horror: tycoon’s son Blake Leibel guilty of scalping girlfriend and draining her blood, echoing gory novel he wrote
Iana Kasian was tortured and mutilated before being killed by Blake Leibel, son of a Toronto construction magnate
A Canadian real estate tycoon’s son who wrote a graphic novel that features gruesome killings was convicted in Southern California Wednesday of the torture and mutilation of a live-in girlfriend who had given birth to their child weeks before.
A Los Angeles jury found Blake Leibel, 37, guilty of first-degree murder, torture and aggravated mayhem in the slaying of Iana Kasian, who was scalped before her blood was entirely drained from her body.
Deputies discovered the 30-year-old’s naked body in the gore-spattered master bedroom of couple’s West Hollywood apartment in May 2016.
Leibel faces life in prison when he’s sentenced June 26.
The case made headlines in Canada, where his father, Lorne Leibel, a sailor on the country’s 1976 Olympics team, built a fortune constructing homes in the Toronto area.
Blake Leibel moved to California and lived off an allowance of about US$18,000 a month over a seven-year period until inheriting the majority of his mother’s estate.
He worked in a variety of creative roles, including as a director and creative consultant in 2008 on the animated series based on Mel Brooks 1987 film Spaceballs, according to his profile on IMDb. He wrote and directed his own film comedy, Bald, that same year.
He is credited as the creator and executive editor of the graphic novel Syndrome, published in 2010. The book’s plot follows a mad doctor’s quest to test his theory that he can isolate the root of evil in the brain and fix it, trying his experiment on a serial killer.
The graphic novel opens outside a prison where the killer is about to be executed for 38 murders. It then flashes back to scenes of him hanging a couple by their ankles and slitting the man’s throat and draining his blood.
The scene had gruesome echoes in the murder of Kasian.
“Kasian was tortured and mutilated before she was killed and all of her blood was drained from her body,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement ahead of the trial.
Leibel used a knife in a “prolonged attack” in which the victim was “alive for the better part of the mutilation and mayhem,” prosecutor Tannaz Mokayef told jurors. She said the crime “followed a script” from the graphic novel.
Deputies went to the couple’s apartment after Kasian’s mother reported her missing. It appeared she had been badly beaten, authorities said. Leibel was arrested at the scene.