“Murder, Mayhem and Torture” Off the Sunset Strip: The Tragic Story of the Budding Director and His Dead Girlfriend

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Image credit: The Hollywood Reporter

Before he was arrested in the brutal scalping death of the mother of his newborn daughter, promising scion Blake Leibel got caught up in a twisted love triangle and developed ties to the decadent poker scene depicted in ‘Molly’s  Game.’ As he prepares to stand trial, those who knew Leibel best reveal what could have caused him to break so bad.

She had bled out — that much was clear. But the body of the woman on coroner Jim Ribe’s examination table told a more disturbing story. Many of the thousands of people murdered each year in America die in this manner and, generally speaking, the underlying injury lies elsewhere — a gunshot, a stabbing, blunt force trauma. What Ribe saw before him now was uniquely distressing. The average human vessel contains about 5 liters of blood. She was found with less than a teaspoon.

Her name was Iana Kasian. She was 30 and Ukrainian, with dark eyes and jet-black hair. There were bite marks on her face
 and defensive wounds on her arms and wrist. But most of the blood loss had occurred, Ribe saw, because Kasian had been scalped. “I have never seen this before,” he testified. “I doubt if any forensic pathologist in this country or abroad has ever seen this outside of, perhaps, wartime.”

The last reported scalping in the U.S. occurred in 2000, when a Cincinnati man shot his wife’s lover repeatedly in the chest and groin with a shotgun and then removed the victim’s scalp to drive the point home. But Kasian’s scalping didn’t appear to be incidental or an act of impetuous, post-murder vengeance. It was a clean incision, seemingly made with a blade, which curved around the base of her skull in a sharp line and back up around one ear.

– Read the entire article at The Hollywood Reporter.

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