A judge has awarded $41.6 million to the family of a young woman who was murdered in her Holloway Drive apartment in 2016 by her boyfriend, the son of a wealthy Toronto real estate developer. L.A. County Superior Court Judge Bobbi Tillman ordered that Blake Leibel make the payment to the family of Iana
“This case reads like a movie script,” Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef told jurors during the murder trial, comparing it to a horror movie involving a “gruesome crime” that involved a “prolonged attack” in which Leibel’s girlfriend was “alive for the better part of the mutilation and mayhem.”
The prosecutor said Leibel “followed a script” from “Syndrome,” a book he co-wrote, saying it “mimics what happened to the victim” three weeks after she gave birth to their daughter.
The murder was draining her body of blood in a crime that a prosecutor said mirrored the script of a graphic novel that Leibel co-wrote.
The judge’s award is the result of a civil lawsuit filed by Olga Kasian, the mother of Iana and the custodian of Iana’s daughter, who now is three. They live in Ukraine.
The lawsuit contained a transcript of a deposition by Dr. James Ribe of the L.A. County Coroner’s Office in which he described the circumstances of Kasian’s death as likely to be unprecedented outside of wartime.
Ribe said Kasian’s “entire scalp was traumatically absent and was not found, was not present with the body. Her skull had been stripped down to the surface of the bone … There was no scalp present except for little bits in the back of the neck.”
“Also portions of the right side of her face were torn away including the right ear and part of the posterior face on the (right) side, all the way down to the jawline. … As far as the face, there were quite a number of bruises and abrasions on the face, primarily on the left side, the left cheek, and left jaw area, a number of bruises and abrasion, including one which turned out to be a human bite mark…”
“I have never seen this before. And I doubt if hardly any forensic pathologists in this country or abroad have even seen this outside of, perhaps, wartime … So it’s extremely rare….”
Among the most unusual aspects of Kasian’s death, Ribe said, was “that she had lived for at least eight hours approximately after receiving the scalp injury and the bruise to the collarbone.”
Leibel, who is imprisoned in Tehachapi, did not attend the trial, nor did any members of his family or the attorney who had represented him in the civil trial. The Toronto Sun reports that Leibel Leibel’s civil attorney removed himself before this month’s scheduled trial.
“When Leibel didn’t respond after his lawyer quit, he didn’t make any arrangements or take advantage of an opportunity to appear and was left to his own devices and we proceeded,” said Tom Conroy, Olga Kasian’s attorney.