A Canadian screenwriter and heir to a Canadian real estate fortune pleaded not guilty to charges of torturing, mutilating and killing his girlfriend, whose bloodless body was found in their Southern California apartment.
Blake Leibel, 35, could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of Iana Kasian, prosecutors said. He entered his plea Tuesday.
Kasian's mother had reported her missing. Deputies discovered her body Thursday after forcing their way through a door that Leibel had barricaded with furniture at the West Hollywood apartment.
Kasian, 30, appeared to have been badly beaten at some point over the past three days, and all the blood had drained from her by the time she was found, authorities said. Leibel was arrested at the scene.
“All of her blood was drained from her body,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.
The couple had a child together, but deputies provided no further details about their relationship.
A defense lawyer declined to comment on the case. Another attorney who knew Leibel for several years told The Los Angeles Times that he was not a violent man.
“It’s hard to tell which has contributed to any mental health issues,” the attorney said.
A week before the body was found, Leibel was arrested on a sex-assault charge, Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef said. He was booked May 20 and released later in the day on $100,000 bail, according to jail records.
Leibel, who is originally from Canada and received a total of $1.7 million from his parents -- real-estate developers who founded Canada Homes -- in monthly allowance over the past eight years or so, is reportedly being held without bail. He is due back in court June 14.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.