A graphic novelist and filmmaker from a prominent Canadian family must now pay millions to the family of his fiancée, who he tortured, scalped and killed just weeks after she gave birth to their child.
Blake Leibel was found guilty last year of first-degree murder, torture and aggravated mayhem for the 2016 slaying of Iana Kasian.
He is the creator of the graphic novel “Syndrome,” published in 2010, a book prosecutors said he used as a blueprint to kill Kasian. The book’s plot follows a mad doctor’s quest to test his theory that he can isolate the root of evil in the brain and fix it, trying his experiment on a serial killer. The graphic novel opens outside a prison where the killer is about to be executed for 38 murders. It then flashes back to scenes of him hanging a couple by their ankles and slitting the man’s throat.
Leibel used a knife in a “prolonged attack” in which the victim was “alive for the better part of the mutilation and mayhem,” prosecutor Tannaz Mokayef told jurors during his trial. She said the crime “followed a script” from the graphic novel.
Leibel beat her, cut her with a knife and a razor blade, scalped her and drained the blood from her body.
Now, Leibel must pay $41.6 million to Kasian’s family, the Los Angeles Times reports. The verdict comes after a bench trial in the wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the victim’s family. The money will go towards Leibel and Kasian’s child, who is now 3. She is in the care of Kasian's mother in Ukraine.
Kasian worked as a prosecutor in her native Ukraine before working as a model in the United States.
Leibel’s father, Lorne Leibel, a sailor on Canada’s 1976 Olympics team, built a fortune constructing homes in the Toronto area. Blake Leibel moved to California and lived off an allowance of about $18,000 a month over a seven-year period until inheriting the majority of his mother’s estate. He worked in a variety of creative roles, including as a director and creative consultant in 2008 on the animated series based on Mel Brooks' 1987 film “Spaceballs,” according to his profile on IMDb. He wrote and directed his own film comedy, “Bald,” that same year.
“This murder didn’t just kill one person, it really did kill the family, it shattered the family. And the family has had a hard time crawling back from this,” Jake Finkel, an attorney representing Kasian’s family said this week, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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