Blake Leibel, a Canadian comic book creator, graphic novelist, and heir who harbored aspirations of becoming a prominent producer and writer, stood before the court on June 20, 2018, not as a witness but as a defendant with his hands cuffed in front of him. What exactly happened to a man full of dreams living the life most people envy? Be careful what you wish for. This particular expression rings through in the case of Blake Leibel.
Twelve months prior to his appearance in court, Leibel appeared to be living a life that many could only dream of. He resided in a lavish Beverly Hills mansion, an exquisite 1926 Tudor-inspired residence where he shared his life with his pregnant fiancee and son. However, the narrative took a horrific turn when, on May 26, 2016, tragedy struck. On that ill-fated day, his new fiancee, Iana Kasian, was discovered lifeless in the West Hollywood apartment they called home.
A meticulous investigation by law enforcement subsequently unveiled a nightmarish chain of events, leading them to suspect Blake Leibel of torturing, mutilating, and ultimately ending the life of Iana Kasian, the mother of his youngest child—a daughter born on May 3. Kasian’s lifeless body was found in their shared apartment, her death accompanied by the gruesome detail that she had been exsanguinated.
The chilling circumstances surrounding Iana Kasian’s demise were such that they inspired a Hollywood documentary. The dark specter of Blake Leibel’s novel, ‘Syndrome,’ allegedly played a role in the grotesque mutilation of Iana’s body—a sinister fantasy he had harbored for an extended period.
In a landmark legal verdict, Blake Leibel was found guilty on charges of murder, mayhem, and torture. On June 20, 2018, he was convicted of first-degree murder, torture, and aggravated mayhem. Subsequently, on June 26, 2018, he received a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This sordid tale, a shocking descent from a life of privilege into one of infamy, remains a harrowing reminder of the depths to which human behavior can sink.
Who is Blake Leibel?
Blake Leibel, born on May 8, 1981, is a former Canadian comic book creator and graphic novelist. He hails from a prominent and wealthy Canadian family in Toronto, Ontario, specifically the upper-class Forest Hill neighborhood. His father, Lorne Leibel, of Jewish descent, is a renowned billionaire Toronto-based real estate tycoon and a member of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame. Blake’s mother, Eleanor Chitel Leibel, was an heiress to the Alros products fortune.
Blake’s parents separated when he was young, though they never officially divorced. Blake resided with his mother, Eleanor, while his older brother, Cody Leibel, stayed with their father. Following Eleanor’s passing in 2011 due to brain cancer, Blake inherited a significant portion of her estate, including her $5.5 million Toronto home and assets worth millions more. Interestingly, he chose not to attend her funeral and later attempted to contest her will.
Lorne Leibel, Blake’s father, led a colorful and controversial life, involving scandals related to drugs, prostitution, and legal disputes. He even made headlines as the first Canadian Olympian to test positive for illegal drug use in 1976. Despite their family ties, Blake and Lorne Leibel were described as “estranged” by the family’s longtime L.A. lawyer. Lorne Leibel made his fortune in suburban real estate during the building boom of the 1980s and ’90s outside Toronto, earning him recognition as the largest home builder in Canada at one point. He courted controversy throughout his life, including lawsuits and allegations surrounding his personal affairs.
Blake Leibel enjoyed a privileged upbringing, benefiting from wealth on both sides of the family. In Toronto, he surrounded himself with fellow heirs, including figures like Jack Latner and Lawrence Longo. In the mid-2000s, Blake and his friends relocated to Los Angeles, joining a group of wealthy offspring from Toronto’s elite seeking success in Hollywood.
Blake established himself as a creative force in Los Angeles, often collaborating with illustrators and writers to bring his imaginative concepts to life. His ventures included founding a publishing house with Latner and Longo, directing episodes of “Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs: The Animated Series” in 2008, and writing and directing the less well-received teen comedy “Bald” in 2009.
He co-founded Fantasy Prone, a company that published various works, including his own creations like “United Free Worlds,” a science fiction series, and “Gold Medal Rabbit,” a child’s story. However, his most notable project was the 2010 graphic novel titled “Syndrome,” known for its chilling accounts of a sadistic doctor and a serial killer. There is some debate about whether Blake wrote the script himself or merely conceptualized the story.
Is Blake Leibel Married?
Blake Leibel was previously married to former model Amanda Braun. However, their marriage ultimately ended in 2015. During their time together, the family resided in a Beverly Hills mansion, complete with a lemon tree on the front porch. Leibel also became a regular patron of the Soho House, a private club located on Sunset Boulevard not far from their home. During those years, it became evident that not everything was going smoothly for Leibel.
According to one close friend and colleague, he had a significant marijuana habit and invested substantial sums of his and his parents’ money into ambitious projects that often did not yield results. The same friend recounted Leibel’s occasional visits to local comic shops, where he would attempt to distribute his obscure graphic novels for free.
Another former collaborator disclosed that Leibel frequently missed meetings and displayed an unsettling preoccupation with themes of violence and brutality. Notably, he conceptualized the graphic novel “Syndrome,” released in 2010, which centered around Dr. Wolfe Chitel, a neuropathologist who shared the maiden name of Eleanor Leibel, and his quest to study a serial killer while seeking a cure for the affliction that compels individuals to commit terrible acts.
In July 2015, Blake filed for divorce from his wife, Amanda Braun, who was eight months pregnant at the time and distanced himself from his circle of friends. Shortly thereafter, he became involved with another woman, Iana Kasian, who immediately got pregnant.
Iana Kasian’s Murder Case
Shortly after separating from his wife, Blake Leibel began a romantic relationship with Ukrainian model and law graduate Iana Kasian in 2015. At the same time, Leibel was also engaged in an extramarital affair with a colleague named Constance Buccafurri. Several months later, Kasian gave birth to their daughter, Diana, and the couple decided to move in together and become engaged.
However, as their relationship progressed, distressing signs emerged, exacerbated by Leibel’s involvement in various atrocities, including rape allegations. After Leibel’s release from jail following detention on rape allegations, a series of violent altercations unfolded between him and Iana Kasian. This prompted Iana to leave their apartment with Diana to stay with her mother, Olga, who had temporarily relocated to Los Angeles to assist with childcare.
Three weeks after giving birth, Iana Kasian went missing. Her mother, Olga, had been unable to contact her for over a day, despite multiple attempts. The day before her disappearance, Iana had gone shopping for a stroller for her baby, marking the last time Olga saw her daughter alive.
Alarmed by the situation, Olga promptly contacted the police when she couldn’t reach Iana. Law enforcement officers attempted to search Kasian’s apartment, but their efforts were thwarted as no one answered the door. On a separate occasion, Olga visited the apartment alone and stood across the street, yelling at Leibel to open the door. She later testified that she witnessed him approach the window, only to close it and vanish inside.
On May 26, 2016, law enforcement authorities conducted a raid on Leibel’s barricaded West Hollywood apartment. Upon gaining entry, officers discovered Iana Kasian’s lifeless body in the bedroom. Her body bore gruesome signs of mutilation, torture, and severe injuries, with Leibel present at the scene. Prosecutors alleged that he had subjected Kasian to torture and mutilation with a knife and had drained her blood.
Dr. James Ribe from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office provided a harrowing account of Kasian’s injuries, detailing the removal of her scalp, the loss of portions of her right facial features, and other disturbing injuries. Dr. Ribe emphasized that Kasian had survived for at least eight hours after sustaining the scalp injury and collarbone bruise, describing this level of brutality as unprecedented in his experience.
The scene discovered by law enforcement authorities bore eerie similarities to several depictions in “Syndrome,” Leibel’s 2010 graphic novel, particularly the method of draining blood. However, it’s important to clarify that Leibel is credited with creating the concept for the book without being the author or illustrator.
Subsequently, Blake Leibel faced charges of murder, torture, mayhem, and aggravated mayhem, all of which he pleaded not guilty to.
Aftermath and Sentencing of Blake Leibel
Blake Leibel was charged with first-degree murder, torture, and aggravated mayhem on June 20, 2018. These charges were compounded by the presence of special circumstances involving the use of a deadly weapon. L.A. Superior Court Judge Mark Windham delivered a sentence characterized by the “inconceivable cruelty” involved in the crime. Leibel was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole, a designation known as LWOP.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors painted a grim picture of Kasian’s murder, suggesting it resulted from Leibel’s jealousy, anger over their child, and a disturbing need for power and control over his fiancée. The extent of brutality became evident as investigators combed through the evidence. Crimson stains tainted the white headboard in the guest room, and clumps of dark hair adhered to a razor in the bathroom. Kasian’s right ear was even found discarded in a dumpster, painting a chilling picture of Leibel’s actions.
Prosecutors relentlessly drew parallels between the murder and Syndrome, a 2010 graphic novel co-created by Leibel. They argued that the novel served as a blueprint for the real-world violence that ensued. The violence was so extreme that words seemed inadequate to describe it, with the prosecutor bluntly referring to it as “depravity.”
The prosecution’s case heavily relied on forensic and physical evidence collected from the apartment. Blood matching the victim and DNA belonging to both Kasian and Leibel were found throughout the apartment, including in the kitchen drain pipe. Flesh fragments from Kasian’s mutilated body were discovered on the bed, behind the mattress, and on the floor. A distinctive bed sheet bore handprints matching Leibel’s hand, a detail made conspicuous by his missing portion of the right pinky finger.
In the basement, 11 discarded trash bags held bloody sheets, clothes, body parts, and substantial portions of Kasian’s hair and scalp. Inside the apartment, Kasian’s corpse lay on the master bedroom bed, alongside Blake. Prosecutors noted indications that he had been beside her cleaned body for a considerable duration before the police arrived. Among the disturbing findings were a knife and a bloody razor blade, suspected tools used during the gruesome scalping.
Text messages emerged as compelling evidence, revealing Leibel’s orders for food delivery from PostMates during the time Kasian was dying, with instructions not to ring the doorbell but to leave the food outside. Prior to the police intervention, Leibel had called his accountant, Stephen Green, who arrived at the scene. Surveillance footage captured Green’s frantic rush, and he testified that he helped police in their attempts to coax Leibel from the bedroom. During this time, police discovered a passport and $4,000 in cash, possibly indicative of Leibel’s escape plan.
The trial was a chilling exploration of a horrific crime that left a profound impact on all involved.
Blake Leibel Latest Update
Blake Leibel’s brutal murder of his fiancée, Iana Kasian, was featured in a CBS 48 Hours news documentary, gaining national attention. Diana, the daughter of Blake and Iana, who was present in the apartment during her mother’s horrifying murder and was discovered by police officers peacefully lying in her crib during the West Hollywood raid, now finds solace in the care of her grandmother, Olga, and her aunt, with whom she presently resides in Ukraine.
In the legal battle against Blake Leibel, the Kasians emerged triumphant once again, securing a significant award of $41.6 million in February 2019.
Who is Blake Leibel’s Wife?
Blake Leibel was married to Amanda Braun from 2004 until their divorce in 2015. He subsequently got engaged to Iana Kasian before killing her.
What is Bake Leibel’s Net Worth?
Blake Leibel’s net worth is estimated to be between $1 million to $5 million.
Where is Blake Leibel Today?
Blake Leibel can be found today at the California Correctional Institution, where he is serving his sentence of life imprisonment.