Originally Posted on May 27th 2016 – Melrose Neighbors Were Shocked To Learn Of Homeowners Possible Connection To (2016) West Hollywood Murder ABC7 EYEWITNESS NEWS REPORT POSTED ABOVE – CLICK OR TAP TO WATCH
UPDATE #2:: September 21, 2017 – L.A. Coroners Office Releases Report On Gruesome 2016 Murder of West Hollywood Woman, Suspect Is Former Homeowner of Melrose Village..
Back in May of 2016 news spread quickly that a homeowner from the 800 N. Block of Gardner St was arrested in connection to a grisly murder in West Hollywood. The incident occurred on Thursday May 26th, 2016 in a condo located on Holloway Dr. 30-year-old Iana Kasian was found dead inside. Her boyfriend at the time and father of her child, 35-year-old Blake Leibel, was arrested on suspicion of murder.
On May 31st 2016, Leibel, 35, was arraigned in a Los Angeles courtroom on charges of “murder, mayhem, aggravated mayhem and torture” after West Hollywood Sheriff’s Deputies discovered the wealthy Toronto native barricaded behind furniture and bedding at the murder scene with the corpse of his Ukrainian girlfriend, Iana Kasian inside.”Kasian was tortured and mutilated before she was killed and all of her blood was drained from her body,” the prosecutor’s office wrote in a statement.
Kasian’s mother Olga filed a $56 million wrongful death lawsuit against Leibel. She is now the guardian of Kasian and Leibel’s 1-year-old daughter.
Leibel is the author of a series of comic books, which he presented at Comic Con in New York in 2008. He is also the writer of the graphic novel “Syndrome” in which the book’s plot follows a rogue doctor’s quest to isolate the root of evil in the brain and fix it. Leibel had once worked alongside Hollywood legend Mel Brooks on an animated spinoff of the 1987 classic Spaceballs, but his career then took a few twists and turns. He co-authored a grisly graphic novel that explored “the root of all evil,” and wrote a screenplay about a serial killer called Psychopomp.
Leibel had for years been entangled in legal disputes with his estranged father, and repeated attempts to challenge his deceased mother’s will had apparently taken their toll. But these most recent, and dramatic, changes seemed to arrive out of the blue — and they were frightening.
According to the family friend, who has known Leibel and his ex-wife Amanda Braun for more than a dozen years, the director left Braun sometime in the summer of 2015 , then 38, when she was eight-and-a-half-months pregnant with their second child.
Within weeks, Leibel had filed for divorce, moved out of the couple’s Beverly Hills home and into a newly leased West Hollywood condominium on Holloway Dr and taken up with Kasian, a Ukrainian who, according to news reports, had studied law before coming to the United States. It was around that same time it appears that Leibel also bought a brand new home on Gardner St. in Melrose Village.
The Melrose Village Connection — Six days before the murder occurred — on May 20 2016, two-and-a-half weeks after the birth of his child with Kasian, police arrested Leibel on an unrelated charge of sexual assault that reportedly occurred on the 800 north block of Gardner St. against a third woman, whose name has not been released. He was released on $100,000 bail in that case just days before the murder. L.A. County records show that Leibel had purchased a home in the 800 block of Gardner St back in December of 2015 for $3.4 million. Soon after the home became the scene of repeated visits from the police and numerous complaints from neighbors of strange happenings and loud rooftop parties that would sometimes start at 2 a.m. A nuisance complaint was also filed with L.A. City attorneys office.
Apparently the Gardner home was put up for sale possibly by Leibels former wife Amanda Braun sometime in 2017 with records showing a sale closing in June of 2017 for $2.9 million, according to a search on real estate site Trulia.
In a 2016 article Leibel was also identified as an owner of a 6,143-square-foot mansion in Bel Air that Lady Gaga had leased at one time for $25,000 a month.
If convicted of first-degree murder and the special allegation charges make him eligible for the death penalty. Leibel, who is a son of a prominent Toronto real estate developer and former Olympian sailor named Lorne Leibel,