National News

Closing arguments in gruesome torture murder

Posted June 20, 2018 10:31 a.m. EDT

— Closing arguments were presented to a jury on Tuesday in the trial of a man charged with torture and murder of his fiancee in their West Hollywood apartment in May 2016.

Blake Leibel, 37, remained emotionless inside a Del Aire courtroom as prosecutors described how he allegedly murdered Iana Kasian - his then 30-year-old fiancee and mother of his young daughter.

The victim suffered a very slow and painful death, the Los Angeles County medical examiner stated. In addition, all of her blood was drained from her body, according to a news release issued in 2016 by the District Attorney's Office.

Authorities believe Leibel was planning on disposing of her body, but then Kasian's mother requested sheriff's deputies to go to the apartment on May 26, and they interrupted. They found sheets and clothes with both people's blood inside a dumpster, officials said.

Leibel was arrested at the apartment where he had initially barricaded himself in an attempt to keep deputies from entering, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Shortly after being charged, he pleaded not guilty to one count each of murder, mayhem, aggravated mayhem and torture.

Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said Leibel's acts were willful, premeditated and deliberate, and that he was sadistic.

"Sadism is the gratification obviously from the infliction of pain and suffering on another, and we know that in this case the defendant obviously enjoyed it because he continued to do it for hours and hours," she said.

The prosecutor added that one of the reasons the defendant allegedly committed the murder was that he was jealous Kasian's sole focus turned to the couple's newborn daughter.

"The amount of cutting and tearing, the violence involved; that's a lot of anger because she no longer was making him the number one most important thing in her life," Silverman said.

If convicted, Leibel faces the death penalty or life in prison.