Philanthropist Rebecca Grossman Convicted of Second-Degree Murder

After the verdict, the boys’ mother, Nancy Iskander, tearfully told reporters she bears no ill will toward Ms. Grossman.
Philanthropist Rebecca Grossman Convicted of Second-Degree Murder
Rebecca Grossman (L) and daughter head to Van Nuys Courthouse in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles on Feb. 14, 2024. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via AP)
Micaela Ricaforte
2/24/2024
Updated:
2/24/2024

Rebecca Grossman, a Los Angeles area philanthropist and socialite, was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges Feb. 23 for a hit-and-run accident that killed two young boys in Westlake Village, California, in 2020.

The jury reached a verdict during its second day of deliberations, convicting Ms. Grossman of two counts of second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and hit-and-run resulting in death.

Ms. Grossman now faces up to 34 years to life in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for April 10. She remained free throughout the trial on a $2 million bond, but she was taken into custody immediately after the verdicts were announced.

After the verdict, the boys’ mother, Nancy Iskander, tearfully told reporters she bears no ill will toward Ms. Grossman.

“[The trial] wasn’t easy, but it will bring me closure,'' she said.

Jurors found that on Sept. 29, 2020, Ms. Grossman sped through a crosswalk where Mark and Jacob Iskander, 11 and 8, respectively, were walking with their mother and youngest brother, Zachary.

The elder boys were struck and killed by her vehicle, the jury found.

According to local outlet ABC7 News, during the trial, witnesses testified they saw two cars—Ms. Grossman’s white SUV and a black SUV driven by her then-boyfriend and former Dodgers pitcher Scott Erickson—both appeared to be racing, speeding, and switching lanes just before the crash.

During the trial, Ms. Iskander testified she saw the two cars—the black one slightly ahead of the other—barreling toward her while she and her three sons were in the middle of the crosswalk, ABC7 reported.

She said, during the trial, she initially waved at the cars to warn them to stop, then said she grabbed her youngest son and dove toward the end of the crosswalk. However, her two older sons, who were trailing several steps behind her, were hit.

Ms. Iskander said she heard the first SUV pass, then looked back and heard a crash as she saw the white SUV speed through the part of the crosswalk where her sons had just been.

When she found Mark, her eldest boy, she said she knew instantly her son had died, and said it appeared every bone in his body was broken.

She said she found Jacob, unconscious but with a heartbeat, according to ABC7.

Police, fire, and medical officials arrived within minutes and rushed the family to the hospital, where Jacob died.

Ms. Grossman and her vehicle were found a quarter mile from the crash site. Her defense attorney argued that Mr. Erickson’s car hit the boys.

In closing arguments, her defense attorney asked: “Where’s Scott Erickson? Why have the prosecutors not made an effort to find him?”

However, Deputy District Attorney Jamie Castro argued that there was no evidence Mr. Erickson’s car had struck the boys, ABC7 reported.

Before the jury reached a verdict Friday, Deputy District Attorney Ryan Gould claimed Ms. Grossman had leaked several videos—which the judge did not allow in the trial—to a reporter.

As a result, the prosecutor asked the judge to order Ms. Grossman to be taken into custody claiming she had violated the court’s protective order and attempted to influence the jury.

The judge declined to immediately order Ms. Grossman to be taken into custody and said further review of the matter was needed.

Ms. Grossman is a philanthropist, who in 2007, co-founded with her husband, Dr. Peter Grossman, the Grossman Burn Foundation, a Calabasas, California-based nonprofit that promotes treatment of burn survivors.
City News Service contributed to this report.