LOS ANGELES — A sicko graphic novelist heir to a powerful Canadian clan has been ordered to pay $41.6 million to the family of his fiancee who he brutally tortured and scalped just weeks after she gave birth to their daughter.
Blake Leibel, who is serving life in prison in the 2016 slaying he modeled after a graphic novel he’d written, was found liable in a wrongful death suit brought by Iana Kasian’s family.
“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,” said Jake Finkel, an attorney representing Kasian’s family told the Los Angeles Times.
Leibel, whose family built their fortune in Canadian real estate and chemicals manufacturing, once had a fledgling Hollywood career as a writer and illustrator.
But in 2016, cops found him barricaded in his West Hollywood apartment with Kasian’s mutilated body.
Prosecutors said during Leibel’s trial that he had cut off Kasian’s scalp, letting all of her blood drain from her body, killing her.
Experts testified that Kasian was alive during much of the torture and died “a very slow, excruciating, painful death.” Prosecutors said the grisly slaying was modeled after the story of “Syndrome,” a graphic novel that Leibel helped create years earlier. I
Leibel moved to California in 2004, married and had a son, living off an allowance from his parents — payouts that totaled $1.8 million over about seven years.
He worked on the animated series “Spaceballs,” based on the 1987 film by Mel Brooks, and collaborated with a team of writers and an illustrator to develop “Syndrome.”
In 2015. he filed for divorce and met Kasian who became pregnant. Prosecutors argued at trial that Leibel had been driven by jealousy over the attention Kasian gave to their newborn, Diana, when he committed the gruesome slaying.
Kasian hailed from Ukraine, where she worked as an attorney prosecuting tax crimes and moved to the U.S. in 2014. The $41.6 million will go to Kasian’s mother, Olga, who is raising the now-3-year-old girl in Ukraine.
“The most precious thing to take away from a little girl, from a woman, is her mother. [Diana’s] mother was taken away from her before she even got a real chance to learn about her, get to know her,” Finkel said. “At one point, she’s going to learn about the reality of her mother, and what happened to her, and her biological father and what he did to her mother.”