A graphic novel author has been found guilty on charges of murder and torture in the 2016 murder of his girlfriend that reportedly followed the script of one of his novels.
Blake Leibel, 37, son of Canadian real estate tycoon and sailor on Canada's 1976 Olympics team Lorne Leibel and author of a graphic novel, was found guilty by a Los Angeles jury on charges of first-degree murder, torture, and aggravated mayhem in the murder of his 30-year-old girlfriend, Iana Kasian, the New York Post reports.
Kasian's body was discovered in their West Hollywood apartment in May 2016, with the murder scene reportedly painting a picture of a crime that "followed a script" from Leibel's 2010 graphic novel Syndrome, which tells the story of a doctor's quest to isolate the root of all evil through a series of experiments that he tests on a serial killer. Throughout the novel, there are several flashbacks to the serial killer's crimes, many of which bare eerie similarities to Kasian's murder, according prosecutor Tannaz Mokayef.
An autopsy report found that Kasian had been tortured for eight hours before she succumbed to her injuries. Part of her scalp had been cut off at the back of her head, while other areas appeared to have been ripped off, including portions of her face and her right ear. Her scalp was never found. Along with blunt force trauma to her head, the autopsy noted what appeared to be human bite marks along her jaw. Her body had also been drained of all its blood, something that the serial killer in Syndrome did to his victims.
"I have never seen this before. And I doubt hardly any forensic pathologists in this country or abroad have even seen this, outside of, perhaps, wartime … it's extremely rare," Dr. James Ribe of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office said, according to the Toronto Sun. "[Her] entire scalp was traumatically absent and was not found, was not present with the body."
Leibel reportedly used a knife in the "prolonged attack," during which time Kasian was "alive for the better part of the mutilation and mayhem."
The 30-year-old was found lying next to her 2-month-old baby daughter, though the baby was not harmed.
Leibel, who was arrested at the scene, had been arrested just a week before Kasian's murder for sexual assault, though he had been released that same day after posting $100,000 bail. Bail was not eligible in Kasian's murder case, in which Leibel had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Leibel is scheduled to be sentenced on June 26. He faces life in prison.