WEST HOLLYWOOD—Iana Kasian was found dead after being tortured in her West Hollywood apartment she shared with Canadian heir, Blake Leibel, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Leibel was charged in court on Tuesday, May 31 with the crime and faces the possibility of the death penalty.
Leibel is accused of killing Kasian on or between May 23 and May 26. Before Kasian’s death she was tortured and her body was mutilated, and then her body was drained of all its blood. Kasian had given birth to a baby girl recently, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Leibel was arrested on May 26 by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies at his apartment where he had barricaded himself inside, according to the District Attorney’s Office. After pleading not guilty in court he was charged on one count each of murder, mayhem, aggravated mayhem and torture. Leibel faces special circumstance allegations of murder involving torture and mayhem which makes him eligible for the death penalty.
“This is a serious matter,” said defense attorney Alaleh Kamran in a statement issued by publicist Howard Bragman, according to the LA Times. “Mr. Leibel’s defense team request that the public and the media respect his right to a fair hearing in court.”
Leibel is a comic book creator, animation director and screenwriter with directing credits on the animated series “Spaceballs: The Animated Series.” He is also the son of Lorne Leibel who is a prominent real estate developer in Canada and a former Olympic athlete.
Blake Leibel moved to California in 2004 and received monthly financial allowances from his parents. He has a pending divorce from his previous wife Amanda Braun that was filed in July 2015. On May 20, Leibel was arrested under suspicion of sexual assault and was released after posting a $100,000 bail.
He has not been charged in the May 20 case. The decision on whether or not to seek the death penalty for the current case will be made at a later date. This case is still under investigation by the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
“It’s very rare that someone is involved in a homicide case with someone they just had a baby with,” said Ronald Richards, a defense attorney who is representing Leibel in his divorce proceedings to the LA Times. “It’s very early to make a conclusion as to what the cause, intent, motive and facts were to this unfortunate tragedy.”
Canyon News reached out to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office for additional information on the case, but was unable to speak with anyone before print.