Death by Fame is examining the gruesome murder of Iana Kasian, who was brutally tortured and murdered by having the blood drained out of her by her fiance Blake Leibel at their apartment in West Hollywood, California.
Blake Leibel was the son of a wealthy Canadian property developer and had grown up with enormous privilege. He had found fame as a comic book writer and was considered something of a big shot in Hollywood circles.
However, he committed a murder that was described as possibly the worst in the history of Los Angeles and the most gruesome seen outside of wartime.
Kasian, 30, and Leibel, 35, had recently had a baby daughter and become engaged. Kasian’s mother, Olga Kasian, had traveled from Ukraine to help her daughter with the newborn.
The older Kasian was living in a nearby apartment, and became concerned when she couldn’t contact her daughter and Leibel seemingly refused to answer the door to her.
Eventually, the police forced their way into the apartment. Leibel had barricaded the front door and the bedroom door, but the cops soon got through. They discovered Kasian lying dead and mutilated on the bed. Her fiance, Leibel, appeared to have been lying beside her for some time.
Blake Leibel had tortured Iana Kasian for hours before killing her
An autopsy found that Kasian’s scalp had been removed and her skull stripped down to the bone. Portions of her face and an ear had been ripped off her skull, and she’d sustained other injuries including a bite mark.Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel
The cause of death was listed as exsanguination, which meant she was drained of blood. A secondary cause of death was listed as head trauma. Chillingly, the pathologist concluded that Kasian had been alive for eight hours after she was scalped.
The police noticed that Leibel had cuts and bruises and a bite mark on his arm, suggesting Kasian had fought hard for her life.
The cops recovered a lot of forensic evidence, including DNA and work tools that showed Leibel was responsible for the murder.
However, the killer still pleaded guilty. Leibel refused to say what he thought had happened, and just told the arresting officers, “Science is gonna tell you who did this.”
At Leibel’s trial, attorney Beth Silverman told the jury, “This was depravity. Ms. Kasian died a slow and painful death. Her daughter will never know her, and that’s because of the unconscionable acts you heard about during this trial.”
The prosecution concluded that the killer’s motives were all about power and exerting control over his victim. The lawyers said Leibel was jealous of their baby daughter.
Blake Leibel convicted for killing Iana Kasian
The attorneys also pointed to a 2010 graphic novel, Syndrome, which Leibel had helped to create. The storyline featured aspects that were similar to Kasian’s murder.
In 2018, Leibel was finally convicted of torture and mayhem, and first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Leibel is currently incarcerated at the Centinela State Prison in Imperial, California, near the border with Mexico.
Death by Fame airs Mondays at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.