A Canadian author and filmmaker is in court for killing his live-in girlfriend in a gory, horror inspired scene at their Californian home. Blake Leibel, 37, was found guilty of first-degree murder, torture and aggravated mayhem in relation to the death of Iana Kasian after police found the 30 year old's body in the blood-spattered master bedroom of their West Hollywood apartment. Kasian was discovered two years ago, in May 2016, and had apparently been viciously scalped by the millionaire property heir. Officers found the woman's mutilated, drained of blood, and covered with a red Mickey Mouse blanket, The Hollywood Reporter reported. There were 'bits of flesh inside the bedroom', and part of Kasian's scalp and her ear were also found in a trash bin at the bottom of the garbage chute outside the home. Iana, a Ukrainian national, is said to have died of exsanguination after having her body drained of blood and is believed to have been alive for some eight hours during the attack.
Leibel wrote a gory graphic novel in 2010 called Syndrome, which was used by prosecutors as evidence that the artist had created a 'blueprint' for his murderous plans. In the novel, a scientist is struggling to find a way to cure people of evil and there are many gory scenes and pieces of artwork that might have influenced his attack. On one page, a woman is depicted lying naked on a bed with no head. The novel begins with the foreword: "If you loved hurting things, what would you do?" and ends with an image of a hand dripping blood and the caption: "In the end, we all become monsters". It was suggested that several aspects of Kasian's murder mirrored elements of the novel. Kasian and Leibel had also just welcomed a newborn baby into the world.
Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman told the court there were no words to describe the depravity of Leibel's actions and the extremity of the violence: "This was depravity. Ms. Kasian died a slow and painful death. He threw away pieces of his fiancée like she was trash. The mother of his newborn baby. Her daughter will never know her, and that's because of the unconscionable acts you heard about during this trial." Leibel had pleaded not guilty to murder, mayhem, aggravated mayhem and torture but a jury found him guilty of all charges and he was sentenced to life in prison. Initially the accused faced the death penalty, but the LA County District Attorney's Office opted not to seek it against him.