The case of

Iana Kasian

Victim

Iana Kasian

Victim Race
Victim Date of Birth

1981-05-08

Victim Age
Date Reported
Date of Death

2016-05-26

Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

West Hollywood, California

Body Location

West Hollywood, California

Date of Conviction

2016-05-26

Body Discovered Date
Murderer

Blake Leibel

Who is Blake Leibel?

Blake Leibel was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1981to a fairly well off family and raised in the neighbourhood of Forest Hill. He had an older brother, Cody Leibel, and his parents Eleanor and Lorne Leibel were both seperately rich. The couple split up when Blake was younger and he lived with his mum while his older brother lived with his dad.

When he was in his 20’s he moved with some friends to LA, where Cody Leibel was already attempting to make a name for himself. Blake made attempts, himself to be creative and make a name for himself as a comic book creator, graphic novelist, and a fledgling film director.

In 2004 he married Amanda Braun who gave birth to their child shortly after they married. They lived in Beverly Hills together, but eventually, his spending habits and funding of his many creative endeavors got the better of him. When his mother Eleanor died in 2011, he became broke after spending what inheritance he had been given. In 2015, he left his 8-month pregnant wife and stopped returning calls from his friends and family.

He met Iana Kasian during his divorce from his wife, and she got pregnant within a couple of months, giving birth to their daughter in May 2016. During all of this Blake started seeing a different girl as well, and roughly two weeks after Iana gave birth, his new girl accused him of sexual assault, resulting in his arrest.

In 2010 he released a graphic novel called Syndrome, in which a doctor with a radical theory decides to fix the chemical imbalance in the mind of a serial killer to remove his evil impulses. This would later become a focal point of the prosecution’s case as they claimed it was used as a template in the gruesome death of his fiancee Iana Kasian.

Who Was Iana Kasian?

Iana Kasian was born in Kyiv 27th January 1986, here she studied law and eventually worked as a prosecutor at the  Ukranian tax service. She immigrated to the United States in 2014, working as a model in California. She gave birth to her daughter Diana on 3rd May 2016.

Murders

After Blake Leibel’s arrest for sexual assault, Iana took their daughter Diana and moved out of their condo. Her mother Olga Kasian was in the United States visiting from Ukraine and was staying a couple of blocks away, where Iana ended up staying. Liebel was not best pleased and insisted that Iana move back in with him without their newborn daughter.

On 23rd May 2016, Blake asked Iana to come over to his condo, she left the baby with her mother and headed over. That would be the last time Olga Kasian saw her daughter alive. The next morning Olga was concerned when she hadn’t heard from her daughter, and despite going over to Liebel’s condo she could not get in or seem to find Iana.

Olga Kasian called the police, but there was not much that they could initially do. There were no obvious signs of a crime or somebody being in danger. They knocked on the door and after receiving no answer, all they could do was leave Leibel a voicemail.

On 26th May, once again, Olga Kasian was knocking at Leibel’s door, and this time the police decided that enough time had passed to do something about it. Iana had only given birth 3 weeks earlier and they understood that she may need medical care. They got a key to enter from the building manager, however, the apartment was locked from the inside, so they had to kick the door in to force entry.

As the police moved through the condo they called out, but got no response back. After moving through the condo and clearing the rest of it, they came to the master bedroom. They found the master bedroom was also barricaded, this time with a mattress; Leibel was behind it and shouted to the police that Iana was not there. A friend of his arrived shortly after and convinced him to open the door for the officers.

When he emerged barely dressed, they found $4000 and his passport, giving the officers the impression that he was trying to flee back to his home country of Canada. They also discovered a lot of blood; blood was everywhere, including Leibel, who was covered in scratches and bruises. They also found Iana Kasian on the master bed, she was covered up to the chin in a Mickey Mouse blanket looking almost peaceful amidst the chaos.

According to the autopsy, Iana’s entire scalp was traumatically absent and was not found, it was not present with the body, her skull had been stripped down to the surface of the bone. Portions of the right side of her face were torn away including the ear and part of her face all the way to the jawline. She even had a human bite mark on her face, amongst many other bruises and abrasions. She probably lived for approximately 8 hours after receiving the scalp injury and bruising to her collarbone. It was determined she was the victim of a homicide by torture and exsanguination (draining the body of blood).

It became apparent that the whole apartment was covered in blood, but Blake had tried to clean up. There were obvious large blood stains on the wall that someone had clearly tried to clean up. This act had not occured in one room, but all over the condo with Iana taking 8 hours to eventually die.

Conviction

The trial began in June 2018, with the prosecution pushing the narrative of Leibel acting out a fantasy depicted in his graphic novel Syndrome. They argued that Syndrome depicted women being brutally killed, and this eventually reflected Leibel’s real life. While his defence tried to create reasonable doubt by arguing that Leibel did not in fact author the graphic novel but hired people to do it for him. The LA County District Attorney’s Office decided not to seek the death penalty against him.

In June 2018, Blake Leibel was convicted of first-degree murder, with supplemental charges of torture and mayhem. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. An appeal in 2020 was denied.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Blake Leibel today?

Blake Leibel is currently serving his sentence at the California Correctional Institution, after being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

What did Blake do to Iana?

Leibel tortured and murdered his fiancee Iana Kasian, her cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma and exsanguination.

Why did Blake kill Iana?

The prosecution believed that Leibel was so jealous of the attention Iana was giving to their newborn baby daughter that he scalped and killed her.

 

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