WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – A judge ordered a West Hollywood graphic novelist to pay $41.6 million to the family of his girlfriend, whom he brutally tortured and killed in 2016 just weeks after their daughter was born, it was reported Friday. (Warning: the details of this case are extremely graphic in nature).
The wrongful-death lawsuit was filed by Iana Kasian’s family against Blake Leibel, who used a book called “Syndrome” he worked on years earlier as a blueprint for the slaying, the Los Angeles Times reported. Leibel, a descendant of a powerful Canadian family, was convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated mayhem and torture in 2018. He’s now serving a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole.
“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, told the Los Angeles Times.
The model’s nude body, which was covered with a Mickey Mouse blanket that had been used earlier in their newborn’s nursery, was discovered on May 26, 2016, in the couple’s blood-spattered master bedroom after Kasian’s worried mother called authorities to report that she had not been able to reach her daughter, Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef said.
An autopsy later revealed that Kasian was scalped, had portions of her face torn off and had been drained of all of her blood. Kasian appeared to have suffered blunt-force trauma to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene, a police official said.
Kasian, who grew up in Ukraine, worked there for several years as an attorney before immigrating to the U.S. in 2014, the news website reported. Finkel said the $41.6 million would help Iana’s mother, Olga Kasian, raise her 2-year-old granddaughter the way Iana would have wanted, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“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.”
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City News Service contributed to this post