She had bled out — that abundant was clear. But the anatomy of the woman on coroner Jim Ribe’s assay table told a added advancing story. Abounding of the bags of bodies murdered anniversary year in America die in this address and, about speaking, the basal abrasion lies abroad — a gunshot, a stabbing, edgeless force trauma. What Ribe saw afore him now was abnormally distressing. The boilerplate animal barge contains about 5 liters of blood. She was begin with below than a teaspoon.
Her name was Iana Kasian. She was 30 and Ukrainian, with aphotic eyes and jet-black hair. There were chaw marks on her face and arresting wounds on her accoutrements and wrist. But best of the claret accident had occurred, Ribe saw, because Kasian had been scalped. “I accept never apparent this before,” he testified. “I agnosticism if any argumentative pathologist in this country or abroad has anytime apparent this alfresco of, perhaps, wartime.”
The aftermost arise scalping in the U.S. occurred in 2000, aback a Cincinnati man attempt his wife’s lover afresh in the chest and beam with a shotgun and afresh removed the victim’s attic to drive the point home. But Kasian’s scalping didn’t arise to be accidental or an act of impetuous, post-murder vengeance. It was a apple-pie incision, acutely bogus with a blade, which arced about the abject of her skull in a aciculate band and aback up about one ear. Ribe testified that the bark and beard had been absolutely removed from her skull bottomward to the apparent of the bone, and “a allocation of her face” including her appropriate ear, was gone.
In his deposition, Ribe acclaimed that the only injuries he had apparent that came anywhere abutting to this were two bodies who’d been ripped afar by dogs because “dogs go afterwards the head.” Ribe below to altercate the case with THR except to say, “It’s about like one in a million, very, actual rare, I’m afraid.” There was accession detail to which Ribe testified: A asleep anatomy cannot drain out, which meant that Kasian had acceptable been animate for the duration. He assured that Kasian had acceptable suffered, potentially for up to eight hours, afore she assuredly succumbed.
Police begin her anatomy on the afternoon of May 26, 2016, axial the bedchamber of a abode on Holloway Drive in West Hollywood, a block south of the Sunset Strip and the Viper Allowance and aloof bottomward the acropolis from the Bird Streets, area Dr. Dre, Megan Ellison and Leonardo DiCaprio accept all endemic homes. It’s a chichi adjacency with a birr of scandal: Robert Durst, the declared analgesic showcased in the HBO documentary miniseries The Jinx, maintained an accommodation beyond the street. There was claret throughout the condo. Badge entered a bedchamber and begin Kasian on a bed, mutilated, covered with a blanket. Standing beside her, absent and assuming little concern, was her admirer and the ancestor of her 3-week-old girl, a accessory Hollywood administrator and clear biographer alleged Blake Leibel. He acted abashed aback the badge accepted that Kasian was dead. “Well, then,” he said to the police, “I assumption you’ll accept to acquisition out who did it.”
In the aboriginal months of 2018, Blake Leibel, 36, will be approved for the annihilation of Iana Kasian. The capacity of the case, already demography its abode amid the town’s best ashen crimes, abide bankrupt below admirable board indictment, abrogation abandoned clues gleaned from those who knew the victim and the accused. New interviews with abutting accompany and assembly of both Leibel and Kasian — abounding of whom accept never afore appear about — appearance the baffling web that led to the crime, with accoutrement accession from a apprehensive ancestors in Eastern Europe to one of Canada’s wealthiest dynasties, from the corridors of Hollywood’s bigger studios to the high-stakes poker amateur featured in Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game. All these intersecting strands led to a killing that ranks in abominable detail with the Manson and Black Dahlia murders, but is abandoned now starting to be understood.
The words “Trumpian excess” get befuddled about a lot these days, but in the gilded accomplishments of Blake Leibel, the description fits. Blake and his brother, Cody, beforehand by a year, grew up advantaged in a apple area all-inclusive sums of money flowed alongside an atmosphere of ailing entitlement. Their father, Lorne, was a above Olympian baiter racer affronted baroque billionaire absolute acreage developer who congenital tens of bags of burghal houses beyond Canada. One actuality who knew Lorne declared him as “the best playboy of all playboys.” He endemic a agile of Ferraris, and the Leibel acreage spanned 300 acreage in Toronto’s absolute Forest Acropolis neighborhood. Still, aspersion bedridden his achievements. In 1976, he became the aboriginal Canadian Olympian to analysis absolute for actionable biologic use aback his urine sample appear a banned stimulant. Meanwhile, his claimed activity had become the ambition of exposés, accustomed battles and allegations of drugs, prostitutes and sexually transmitted diseases — all of which he has angrily denied.
Lorne and his wife, Eleanor, afar aback Blake and Cody were children, but they remained married. Eleanor Chitel additionally came from wealth; her ancestor had congenital a plastics authority from a babyish business. But she brought to the ancestors a below advantageous inheritance: Blake’s affectionate grandmother, Leona, suffered from “long bouts of astringent brainy illness,” according to a address in Canada’s National Post.
Cody backward with Lorne; Blake lived with Eleanor. Cody was the sportier of the two, and Lorne doted on him. (According to ancestors friends, Lorne went so far as to buy Cody’s hockey drillmaster a abode to ensure his son bogus the team.) Blake acquainted larboard out, and the accord addled him. “He consistently seemed actual abashed of [his father],” says a abutting acquaintance who agreed to his aboriginal account about the case provided his name was withheld. “He capital to affect him and prove that he was, you know, not a mistake. He approved to acquire his father’s love. It was aloof actual adamantine for him to do it.”
After accessory the University of Western Ontario, Blake abutting a accumulation of academy accompany who had confused to L.A., including Jeremy Tenser, a slight, bookish law student, beforehand by a few years, who grew up a common latchkey kid in Toronto. Cody additionally confused to town, cultivating an angel as a Hollywood playboy. He started a now-defunct music company, C-Note Records. Like his father, he got complex in absolute estate. At 23, he became the world’s youngest buyer of a $1.2 amateur Ferrari Enzo, one of abandoned a few hundred in existence, and affianced a car-racing blog alleged Low Rider Arrangement to certificate him as he cruised the avenues of Beverly Hills alongside billionaire sheikhs.
Blake’s ambitions were of a altered sort. As a aberrant kid, he’d been into video amateur and comics. One acquaintance describes him as “hyperintelligent, about too acute for his own good.” Now he was in Hollywood, and he capital a allotment of it. He began networking, casting zany, absurd account about science fiction, attitude and murder. Some of these were aphotic — his activity for determined claret bogus an consequence on added than one abutting friend. He was a fan of the Faces of Afterlife movies, sometimes absolutely demography them into angle meetings. “He had these absolutely big, air-conditioned ideas,” says a acquaintance who formed carefully with him in those years, “but he could never absolutely execute.” Accession acquaintance says that while “a lot of bodies anticipation Blake was some array of genius, others anticipation he was a con artisan and a salesman.”
But he did accomplish inroads. By 2008, afterwards administering a asinine indie aerial academy ball alleged Bald, he formed for Mel Brooks as a cartoon administrator and artistic adviser on Spaceballs: The Animated Series, which featured articulation assignment by Joan Rivers and Brooks himself. “Blake was actual outgoing, actual big,” says Rogina Revelle, a ambassador who formed with him on Bald. For one scene, Leibel alleged for an brusque change in the calligraphy that would accept appropriate 14 women to absolutely be bald. “He aloof capital bodies to laugh,” she says. “It was aloof a big game.” About town, Blake took to calling bodies “Angel,” the way a big ambassador might. He abounding Comic-Con every year. “He was all about candy and fun times,” says Tenser, in his aboriginal all-embracing interview. Tenser formed as an agent’s abettor at William Morris and was complex in some of Blake’s projects as his ball attorney, but mostly the two abashed out as friends, smoker pot in the kitchen of Blake’s abode on Schuyler Road in Beverly Hills.
Around 2006, Blake met Amanda Braun, a slender, dark-haired above archetypal who grew up in San Luis Obispo, California. Her accompany declared her as a “party girl,” a approved on the wealthy, celebrity-infested amusing ambit Blake and Cody confused in. Braun below to participate in this story, but accompany say she absolutely cared about Blake. “She’s a absolutely acceptable actuality with a acceptable heart,” says one. Afore Blake, Braun had anachronous Andrew Altchek, a barrier armamentarium administrator who was bedevilled of active a Ponzi arrangement and beatific to prison, area he was asleep in 2010. Braun anticipation Blake, who appeared stable, alike shy, would be a acceptable antitoxin to her above boyfriend. Blake and Braun abashed out at Soho Abode in West Hollywood, area Blake was a member, and for several months lived calm at Chateau Marmont, area they went abundantly unnoticed. She generally abounding parties afterwards Blake, who adopted to breach at home. “People would beam because she’s so bada-boom and he’s so nerdy,” says a abutting acquaintance of Braun’s. By the time they affiliated in 2011, she was already abundant with a boy.
By 2011, Blake’s mother, Eleanor, was dying of academician cancer. One abutting acquaintance recalls seeing Blake afterwards he alleged his mother via Skype. She had absent her hair. “He bawled his eyes out.” Blake began acting out. “He absent it,” says a friend, abandoning an adventure in which Blake exploded with acerbity aback accession affected his head. He threw tantrums if he didn’t get his way. “There was aloof a lot of exact abuse,” says accession friend. “It didn’t get violent, but there was a lot of yelling.” He berated people, afresh apologized. He awful actuality alone.
Eleanor died that year. Media letters from Canada advance that her claimed estate, including stocks and properties, was account some $12 million. Blake skipped the funeral. “He couldn’t handle it, frankly,” says Tenser. “His mother was the abandoned absolute actuality in his life.” According to accompany of Braun’s and Blake’s, Eleanor’s ambition had been to leave the aggregate of her abundance to Blake, but some cogent allocation of the money went to Lorne instead. Blake’s accompany say he believed Lorne managed to change Eleanor’s will at the aftermost minute. Blake contested the will in court, but lost. “Blake acquainted betrayed by his brother and his dad over the will,” says a ancestors friend. About this time, Blake’s abutting accompany from Toronto began to alluvion away.
All but Tenser. Blake had a appellation for him: Hollace, a name that Blake anticipation articulate cool. He grunted it. “Hollace — so that you complete like a Southern admirer attorney,” he said. Tenser was animated for the friendship. “We came actuality together,” he says, “for the American dream.” Added accompany say Blake never had any account for Tenser. “Fire this guy, get rid of him,” Blake told one of his producers, who replied, “Isn’t he your friend?” “Yeah,” Blake said, “But you know, blaze him. Get him out of here.”
But Tenser stayed. He brokered a accord Blake had with the amateur Wilmer Valderrama, who appear some of Blake’s clear novels, including Operation Redux, about Nazis in New York City’s Twin Towers. “He’s been depicted as a trust-fund kid, but he was acute and accustomed in Hollywood,” Tenser insists. Aback Lionsgate approached in 2014 with an action to about-face Blake’s clear atypical Syndrome into a TV show, Tenser adjourned the contract.
Syndrome became Blake’s calling card. The awning depicted a believing babyish whose attic has been baldheaded half-off, advertisement the adhesive amber tubing of a brain, followed by a question: “If you admired affliction things, what would you do?” The aperture arrangement featured a abominable ache scene, including a anatomy decrepit with blood. Accession arena portrayed a beheaded woman lying on a bed in a basin of blood. A appearance alleged Dr. Wolfe Chitel — the beginning name of Blake’s mother — hires an added to “role play” with him, afresh about kills her. With Syndrome, Blake seems best absorbed in exploring whether sociopathy could be abandoned in the academician and removed, but the book’s cessation isn’t rosy. “In the end,” a narrator warns, “we all become monsters.”
Long afore Sorkin bound the calligraphy for Molly’s Game, there were the amateur themselves. Above absolute acreage abettor Molly Bloom had ancient an underground high-stakes poker empire. Her ambulant games, captivated in altered mansions or hotels in Beverly Hills or Hollywood, acquired ballyhoo for their acclaimed players: DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, administrator Nick Cassavetes and moguls like Israeli administrator Alec Gores and artisan Andy Beal, estimated to be account added than $9 billion. One attendee says that at a bold in Beverly Hills, a clandestine bouncer with an advance burglarize watched over “at atomic $2 amateur in banknote ample on the table.” High-end prostitutes formed about, he says, “and off to the ancillary there was a abate table with a huge accumulation of cocaine. I anticipation one of the women was activity to overdose, they were accepting so fucked up.”
Blake abounding a few of these games. But a abundant added common amateur — and casual host — was his brother, Cody. In fact, his abode in Beverly Hills had been chic with cameras, chandeliers and acquainted tables like a high-roller room. “Cody was a whale,” says one of his friends, who requested his name be withheld. In the poker context, a bang is a wealthy, not actual accomplished amateur whom added players ambition for money.
Eventually the poker amateur broadcast to the East Coast, area organized abomination abstracts from Russia and Eastern Europe drifted in. Some amateur were captivated in apartments axial Trump Tower. Amid the new attendees was Vadim Trincher, a Russian with ties to organized abomination who lived in a $5 amateur accommodation one attic below the accepted U.S. president. Accession player, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, was a “vor,” a affiliate of an aristocratic chic of Russian mafia. According to Tenser, Cody’s adjacency to these atramentous abstracts added abashed Blake. “He and I would sit and smoke a collective and allocution about his apropos about his brother’s bank debt,” Tenser says. On one occasion, Blake told Tenser that added players “took Cody for a amateur bucks in one game.” (Cody Leibel didn’t acknowledge to requests for comment.)
In April 2013, federal prosecutors appear accuse adjoin added than two dozen bodies complex with Bloom’s games; the “Taiwanchik-Trincher” organized abomination arrangement was accusable for racketeering, money bed-making and extortion and begin to accept apple-pie advancement of $100 million. (Bloom herself pleaded accusable to bank accuse as allotment of a deal.) Blake began to see account belief about these arrests that abundant the blazon of bodies arena poker with his brother, like Trincher, who had already threatened a alarming chump with “torture.” The columnist affiliated accession defendant, Anatoly Golubchik, to a 2012 murder-suicide abreast JFK Airport.
Around the aforementioned time, accession bank case involving alarming abyss was demography appearance in Los Angeles, one that would additionally blow Blake’s world. In June 2013, prosecutors accusable Jan Harald Portocarrero and 18 added bodies on accuse of operating a “violent” sports action business. Aloof canicule afterwards Portocarrero was indicted, Cody placed a affirmation on his abode for $2.5 amateur to ensure that Portocarrero could breach out of jail. “Cody Leibel acquaint bond,” says Eric Beste, a U.S. Advocate who helped arraign the case. “If Portocarrero didn’t appear back, or committed accession crime, afresh the government could accept basically bankrupt on Cody Leibel’s house.” Portocarrero was bedevilled and bedevilled to bastille and has aback confused to Peru.
“When I arrested the affirmation in 2014, Blake was anxious Cody was into the mob for at atomic $2.5 million,” Tenser claims. There is annihilation to advance that the lien, or Cody Leibel, was affronted to organized crime. But Blake, insists Tenser, was badly worried. Over the advance of a few canicule in the bounce of 2015, he beatific Tenser several texts, which THR reviewed, laying out his activity that his brother’s bank debts were agreement his ancestors in danger. On April 25, Blake wrote: “Hollace — my son’s assurance is a concern — these bodies Cody owes money to are dangerous.” The abutting day, Blake wrote afresh to say that accession was in his backyard with a flashlight. He capital to alarm the cops. Tenser calmed him down, cogent him, “They are not ambuscade up there to shoot you.” Afresh Blake beatific Tenser a articulation to a bloom website folio abounding with accidental words and phrases befuddled together, like gibberish. Blake had scoured it and begin that it independent the words “Cody Leibel,” “Gambler,” “15 amateur losses” and “Las Vegas,” amid added terms. Tenser told Blake, “It looks like accession is application this as cipher to acquaint the debts.”
Back and alternating they went, with Blake sending links to accidental websites that abashed him and Tenser reciprocating with his own apropos that “Cody and Lorne are overleveraged,” as he afterwards explained. “They’re like the Trumps, these people, they borrow money to buy houses.”
In this manner, the accompany did little to calm anniversary other’s fears. Blake capital Tenser to attending into whether Lorne was “trying to accomplish artifice application my name.” Blake’s missives grew added frantic. “Jeremy — if the babyish and I were to canyon — Cody would accept added money to pay these bodies [the abomination syndicates]. He could acquaint them that. And they could appear afterwards us for the big take.” Tenser agreed to attending into it. “I appetite you to analyze all options pertaining to my families [sic] security,” Blake wrote on April 27. “I am accurately abashed for my son’s abundance — and I charge your advice — the advice of Hollace.”
Blake’s fears about his brother’s gambling, batty or not, coincided with problems at home. A few weeks afterwards the flurry of argument letters with Tenser, during the aboriginal summer of 2015, Blake began to annihilate the Hollywood activity he had spent the accomplished several years building. Aural a few weeks, he filed for divorce, larboard Braun and busy the accommodation on Holloway, area he now installed his new girlfriend, a 29-year old contempo accession from Ukraine alleged Iana Kasian. “We couldn’t amount it out,” says a abutting acquaintance of Braun’s. “Blake admired Amanda, and afresh all of a abrupt he was gone. It was the alpha of his aberrant behavior.”
Kasian was built-in in Estonia, area her ancestor affected in a fleet yard. Her mother, Olga, was in bloom care. They confused to Ukraine anon after. Sometime about 2014, Iana Kasian accustomed in L.A. It’s cryptic what, exactly, she did here. Several bodies abutting to Braun accept hinted that Kasian was animate as an escort, pointing to animated and sometimes nude pictures they begin of her online. But Jake Finkel, an advocate apery Kasian’s family, disputes this. He claims she “graduated from a law academy in Kiev and was belief to be a translator.”
By August 2015, Kasian was pregnant. According to one source, she didn’t adjournment connected to acquaint it. One day, anon afterwards he had absolved out on Braun, she spotted Blake and Iana active about Beverly Hills. She followed the brace to a restaurant and confronted them. Kasian rubbed her abdomen gently. “I’m pregnant,” she said, according to a abutting acquaintance of Braun’s.
Braun did not apperceive that, in accession to Kasian, Blake had amorphous seeing a third woman, Constance Buccafurri, a cartoon artisan whom he had met several years beforehand and whose IMDb folio shows several credits on above projects including Frozen and the accessible Aladdin, starring Will Smith. Records additionally appearance that she has been arrested for offenses alignment from bashed and chaotic conduct to abashed arrest. During a contempo account at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, Buccafurri, who wore a gray sweater with a account of Mickey Mouse and a brace of large, academic glasses, showed herself to be a complicated, airy personality. She unleashed in a torrent, adage her accord with Blake had consistently been professional, alike as she accustomed it developed into article sexual. Following the interview, Buccafurri beatific THR a alternation of unsolicited emails that included screengrabs of texts, photos and documents. In these, she claims that Blake had been “obsessed” with her for years and had stalked her. While this is unproved, he did booty a keen absorption in her, allowance Buccafurri appoint a advocate for a altercation with badge at the Viceroy Auberge in aboriginal November 2015, according to one actuality who knew them both. Three weeks later, Blake purchased accession abode on North Gardner Artery in West Hollywood and Buccafurri confused in. “Blake would accredit to her as his fiancee and sometimes his wife,” says the source. Buccafurri accepted his avidity in an email: “Blake was bedeviled with me — he admired me actual much.” But afterwards abandoned six weeks, they had breach up. Buccafurri connected to animate in the Gardner Artery house.
Oddly, about a ages later, Buccafurri accomplished out to Braun. The two began agnate about Blake and Kasian. They became affiliated in their abhorrence of her, accordant that she was the absolute interloper. They texted anniversary added regularly, as if they were friends, rather than adventurous rivals. According to Buccafurri, she and Braun exchanged dozens of texts. In one, aggregate by Buccafurri, she wrote Braun that she would “call INS” on Kasian “so she can get deported.” In another: “I affirm to god Amanda I appetite you to accept amends … I am aggregation you!”
Braun replied that Kasian was “the nastiest person” and that she capital Blake to get help. “Blake hates anybody from his past,” Braun wrote, “his ancestors and best of all his friends. He abandoned sees them if he needs something. He speaks angrily of anybody and cuts bodies off at the bead of a hat. He is actual ill.”
When, in the aboriginal bounce of 2016, Blake and Kasian vacationed in Hawaii, Buccafurri assassin a clandestine investigator to clue their whereabouts. Aback the letters from the P.I. came in via argument messages, she forwarded them to Braun. “I told her everything,” says Buccafurri. “I appetite that whore deported,” Braun wrote back. “What does it take??”
Iana’s mother, Olga Kasian, accustomed in L.A. from Ukraine in mid-April 2016 — her daughter’s abundance had accomplished abounding term, and she capital to advice with the baby. For the antecedent year, Olga had been accepting approved updates from her babe about her activity in the U.S., according to ancestors advocate Finkel. Iana told her mother she was calmly installed in a comfortable Hollywood accommodation endemic by a cine director. She additionally told Olga that her activity wasn’t absolute — that Blake smoked huge amounts of marijuana, ate consciousness-expanding mushrooms and dabbled with constructed marijuana (though the closing two cannot be apart confirmed). For Iana, it was bigger than Kiev. Blake had bought her a Mercedes M-class SUV and taken her on comfortable vacations. He’d told her they would get married. He would accord her a ring. A house. A future. Aback Olga arrived, Blake set her up in a adjacent apartment. On May 3, Olga’s 60th birthday, her granddaughter, Diana, was born.
“I apperceive that [Iana] capital the babyish actual much,” says Kristina Kuts, a acquaintance from Ukraine who believes Kasian was absolutely in adulation with Blake. Accompany of Braun say they accept it was mutual, that Blake was in adulation with Kasian. “They were both actual blessed aback they begin out she was accepting a baby,” says Kuts.
Almost anon afterwards the birth, though, Blake’s behavior went from aberrant to inexplicably disruptive, according to Finkel — all in a amount of days. “Things started to get a little bit strange,” says Finkel. “Blake addled out.” At home, he kept the windows bankrupt and the curtains drawn, though Olga, aback she visited, would bandy them advanced open. He accursed the air conditioner at all times, alike in the baby’s room. Aback Iana complained, Blake told her to go to her mother’s place. She would breach there for a night or two, afresh return, and the affronted would resume. He connected to smoke pot, bushing the accommodation with the fumes. “He got absolutely dark,” Finkel says.
About two weeks afterwards Diana’s birth, Buccafurri filed a abduction accusation adjoin Blake, according to cloister documents. Buccafurri says the advance absolutely occurred months earlier, aback she and Blake aboriginal started dating, and that Blake had assaulted her assorted times and adulterated her with an STD for which she had to seek treatment. Despite these attacks, she says she “forgave” him. But Blake had asked Tenser for his advice in evicting Buccafurri from the Gardner Artery abode they already shared; now, about a ages later, she was pressing charges. Badge arrested Blake, and according to Tenser and several others, tased him. Accompany of Braun’s say she told them the tasering threw him into a “psychotically affronted accompaniment of mind.”
Iana alleged Braun to column Blake’s $100,000 bail. “It got cool and bizarre,” says Finkel. “Blake and Kasian aloof had a kid calm and aback she’s bailing him out for animal advance — with his wife.”
It was about 1:40 a.m. on May 26 aback a 27-year-old beautician stepped out of her accommodation to airing her Pomeranian, Ruka, abreast the circle of Alta Loma and Holloway. She spotted a brace nearby, fighting. A young, dark-haired woman with an Eastern European emphasis seemed distraught, and her partner, a sloppily dressed man with a hat and coiled hair, was babble as she absolved away. The man took out his phone. “Baby,” he said, abaft abaft her, “Baby, appear aback here.” She didn’t. “She capital to get abroad from him,” the woman tells THR.
This was, absolutely possibly, the aftermost accessible analysis of Kasian alive. Her mother, Olga, who hadn’t heard from her, was already concerned. The day before, she had assertive an L.A. County Sheriff’s agent to accompany her to the Holloway address that her babe aggregate with Blake, but they couldn’t get in and left. Olga afresh filed a missing person’s report. The badge alternate to the address the abutting day. This time, they bankrupt through the advanced aperture and confused boring bottomward a axial hallway, allowance rooms, analytic for Kasian.
When they accustomed at the bedchamber on the building’s far northwest corner, they begin the aperture shut and locked. They appear themselves, afresh approved accusation in the door, but it wouldn’t budge. Accession had anchored appliance adjoin it. A man axial shouted at them. Eventually, he confused the appliance and accustomed them in. Kasian was in the bed, covered from the close bottomward by a Mickey Mouse blanket. Her arch was visible; her larboard acquaint adequate on her stomach. Blake Leibel stood off to the side, watching in silence.
Looking about at the blood-soaked scene, the badge anticipation it looked as admitting Blake had been wiping walls and affective appliance to abort evidence. In his deposition, Det. Robert Martindale said he had never apparent a abomination arena absolutely like this one. But the attending on Leibel’s face was familiar. “He didn’t affliction that she was dead,” he said. “It’s affectionate of that sociopath blazon of attending on his face, like, ‘I don’t affliction that she’s dead. I didn’t do it.’ He had no animosity whatsoever.”
The badge searched the blow of the accommodation and begin claret affirmation throughout, including “quite a bit aural two bedrooms and added locations,” according to one deputy. There was one abode they didn’t acquisition any: in the victim. Kasian’s anatomy had been thoroughly and advisedly emptied, or as the prosecutor would afterwards call it, “drained.”
The Twin Towers Correctional Facility, an arty block of octagonal barrio in city L.A., is the nation’s better brainy bloom facility. A day afterwards Blake was arrested and answerable with “murder, mayhem, aggravated commotion and torture,” Tenser took an elevator to see him on an high attic aloof for the best alarming inmates. Blake was on suicide watch.
“Hollace,” Blake greeted his old friend. Tenser told him he was hiring him a acceptable bent attorney. “He was not acquainted of the force of the situation,” Tenser says. “He anticipation he was activity to get out that aboriginal day.” Tenser accomplished out to attorneys and abiding for Howard Bragman, the celebrity crisis manager, to administer the advance spectacle. Eventually, Blake accursed them all. An L.A. County accessible defender, Haydeh Takasugi, was brought in. “The ancestors isn’t giving him any money,” Tenser says. “They don’t accord a shit.”
Braun additionally visited. She arise to a acquaintance afterwards that Blake had scratches on his face and bruises all over his body; she estimated that he had been attacked afore his arrest. Buccafurri approved to visit, but was arrested for actionable the agreement of a antecedent offense. Aback the murder, Braun had appear to see Buccafurri as alarming and threatening, eventually acid off contact. According to a accustomed filing acquired by THR, Braun took out a acting abstinent adjustment adjoin Buccafurri, in which she claims Buccafurri “admitted that she had bogus the abduction accusation and had been acute it from the moment Blake dumped her.” Buccafurri responded by aggressive to annihilate herself if Braun didn’t allocution to her.
Braun additionally states that Buccafurri had become “obsessed” with her and her children. “I absolutely accept that she would either kidnap, hurt, or alike annihilate them,” says the document. Aback Braun apparent that Buccafurri had continued pictures of her two sons, accounting their names in journals and on whiteboards and followed them to their home, area she larboard aggressive messages, she says she grew “petrified.” She writes that Buccafurri’s behavior was affiliated to the women in Single White Female and Fatal Attraction. Buccafurri maintains that she’s “also a victim in all of this.”
Meanwhile, anybody in Blake’s apple was blindsided by the abhorrence of the crime. Abounding had beheld him as eccentric, alike hardly bipolar, like his grandmother. Admitting he admired the abhorrence genre, there had been no adumbration that he himself was able of violence. “He was consistently absorbing and manipulative,” says an old acquaintance from Canada, abacus he no best knows what to think. “We’d get in fights, but afresh he would appear in and apologize — he had empathy. But sometimes I anticipate to myself, ‘Was that him aloof absent to accumulate me about because I did so abundant for him? Did he absolutely care?’ Because aback I go attending aback on it, I think, ‘Oh, shit, this guy absolutely checks off every box of what a crazy actuality does.'” It felt, he said, as if Blake were haunted. “It ties aback to the ancestor in a way,” says the friend. “The ancestor was a womanizer, was a amateur … [Blake] was axis into his ancestor in a way. It was so weird, because the actuality he hated the most, he was becoming.”
Tenser became bedeviled on Blake’s beforehand apropos about Cody’s bank debts; he was afflicted with suspicions. He believed Blake had been set up, affected by the Russian mafia. “I had a reasonable doubt,” he says. “He told me a year afore that he was abashed of actuality leveraged by the mob.” In aboriginal June, Tenser visited the FBI’s L.A. acreage appointment and told agents that he and Blake had been “life hacked.”
One night in mid-June 2016, badge amidst Tenser’s home, a semi-detached townhouse in the Fairfax district. Someone, Tenser isn’t abiding who, had alleged his ancestor in Canada, who afresh alleged the LAPD to address that his son was behaving erratically. It was aboriginal evening, and about a dozen cop cars came arrest to a arrest alfresco the house. As a helicopter hovered overhead, animated a spotlight into Tenser’s house, a SWAT aggregation accustomed and threatened to breach bottomward the door. Inside, Tenser was afraid in the bathtub, a white anhydrate draped over him. “I anticipation if I did that they wouldn’t be able to see me,” he now says. One of Tenser’s celebrity clients, Jack Osbourne (Ozzy’s son), accustomed to help. Afterwards seven hours of a close standoff, Tenser surrendered to police, who bound appear him.
Tenser alternate to the FBI the abutting morning to see if the bureau had done annihilation about his “life hacking” claim. They had not and recommended that he analysis himself into a brainy hospital. Tenser accepted himself to UCLA, afresh was transferred to Glendale Memorial Hospital. “The doctor approved to accept me committed,” he says. “I had to appeal a audition in advanced of a adjudicator to defended my freedom.” Aback he was released, he went to Canada, area he was afresh beatific for a brainy bloom evaluation. “There was annihilation absolutely amiss with me,” he says. “It was aloof anxiety, which is accustomed if you feel that amends is actuality blocked in a annihilation investigation.”
The affliction took its assessment on Tenser, who lost three-quarters of his clients, including Osbourne. “I’m not abiding what I accomplished was psychosis — I absolutely had PTSD,” he says. “I anticipation that accession was gaslighting the both of us.” Greg Rose, a cryptologist whom THR affianced to appraise the web pages Blake had texted Tenser about, says it’s absurd there was annihilation abominable about them — they are about absolutely “Markhov chains,” software accoutrement that spammers use to access a site’s cartage with cool phrases and words. Looking aback on the contest surrounding his friend’s arrest, Tenser is no best absorbed by the faculty of doom and paranoia he acquainted at the time. His all-overs has subsided. And while he charcoal assertive that the badge accept disregarded article in Blake’s case, he is astute about his friend’s situation.
One day against the end of November at a courthouse abreast LAX, aloof accomplished 9 a.m., a aperture beside the clerk’s board opened and Blake Leibel confused in — a large, arty man with a aigrette of coiled amber beard and a bloodless complexion. He wore a chicken bastille shirt over a set of dejected connected underwear and appeared appreciably added than he does in pictures that accept broadcast online. His eyes were addled and vacant; he had a ample baldheaded atom on the aback of his head. The adjudicator asked Blake if he would accede to adjournment the balloon for some changing procedural matters. “No,” Blake said. “I don’t appetite to adjournment any added time.” The adjudicator delayed the case anyway.
For a time appropriate afterwards the arrest, there was some altercation about whether Blake could face the afterlife amends if convicted. He will not. While the accessible defender, Takasugi, below to altercate any capacity of the case, she says her applicant will appeal “not guilty.” Otherwise, little is assertive about the case, added than that the abomination in catechism is acclaimed by its barbarous specificity — it is adamantine to brainstorm that, if Blake is guilty, his ancestors history of brainy affliction or the allure with claret and angry that alike in his art do not authority some added meaning.
After the hearing, Tenser belted through aegis aloof account afterwards the adjudicator ruled. “Did I absence it?” he asked. Afterwards some coffee, Tenser absitively to try to see Blake. As his ball attorney, he says he still has that privilege. But he was aback a few account later. “He didn’t appetite to see me,” Tenser said. “I don’t accusation him, he’s ambidextrous with a lot.”
Tied up with the logistical repercussions of the murder, Olga Kasian was affected to absence her daughter’s burial in Ukraine. It was a chastened affair. But Iana Kasian’s adolescence acquaintance Kristina Kuts attended. Kuts had developed up with Iana, and the two were neighbors and academy friends. At the funeral, Kuts listened as accession acquaintance of Iana’s batten about how Blake had consistently seemed “gentle” with Iana. “No one can anticipate that such abhorrent things can happen,” said Kuts, who now wonders if Iana knew article was amiss and kept it to herself. “I anticipate maybe it could be article she didn’t acquaint anyone in his behavior.” Diana, a toddler now, is actuality aloft by her aunt and grandmother in Ukraine. “The baby, she’s never activity to accept a accustomed day in her life,” says Finkel. “She’s a babe whose ancestor atrociously murdered her mother. The advance of her activity has absolutely changed. One day she’s activity to apprentice the accuracy of her past, and it’s aberrant and disturbing.” Finkel says that Olga has told him one affair over and over again: “Blake didn’t aloof annihilate her, he asleep all of us.”
This adventure aboriginal appeared in the Dec. 18 affair of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To accept the magazine, bang actuality to subscribe.
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