The high-flying, pampered existence of Canadian graphic novelist Blake Leibel has come to light as the trust funder sits in a Los Angeles County jail awaiting a November pretrial conference in the grisly torture-murder of his model girlfriend.
The 36-year-old aspiring screenwriter — who authored a strange graphic novel about a condemned serial killer — has been charged with one count each of murder, mayhem, aggravated mayhem and torture in the May 2016 death of 30-year-old Iana Kasian. He also faces special circumstance allegations of murder involving torture and mayhem, which make him eligible for the death penalty in California.
Leibel is the son of a wealthy Toronto developer and former Olympic athlete who also is an accomplished powerboater and car enthusiast, the Los Angeles Times reported. His mother, who died in 2011, was the heiress to a plastics fortune. Court documents obtained by the Times show Leibel received a monthly allowance of almost $18,000 and he reportedly lived in a posh West Hollywood condo at the time of his arrest.
Kasian died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, was scalped, had portions of her face torn off and had the blood drained from her body, according to an autopsy released by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. She had reportedly been tortured for eight hours before succumbing to her injuries.
“I have never seen this before. And I doubt any forensic pathologists in this country or abroad have even see this, outside of, perhaps, wartime,” Dr. James Ribe, of the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office, told the Toronto Star.
Detectives found Kasian lying next to the 2-month-old baby she'd had with Leibel. The baby wasn't hurt.
The heinous slaying reportedly bears similarities to a fictional crime in Leibel’s 2010 graphic novel "Syndrome," in which a serial killer hangs a couple from their ankles and slashes their throats — draining their bodies of blood.
"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," journalist Mark Ebner told Crime Watch Daily.
“She was a very happy person [with a] strong and fighting character,” Nataliiya Khilshevskaya, a former classmate of Kasian’s wrote on Facebook.
Kasian's family has filed a civil lawsuit asking for $56 million, the Toronto Star reported.