Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
L.A. Socialite Pleads Not Guilty To 2020 Deaths Of Young Brothers, Attorney Blames City
Rebecca Grossman stands accused of street racing at speeds up to 81 mph just before she plowed through a residential crosswalk, killing Mark and Jacob Iskander.
The Los Angeles socialite accused of mowing down two brothers at a crosswalk in 2020 has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Rebecca Grossman, 58, is accused of barreling her Mercedes Benz at speeds of up to 81 mph toward the Iskander family, killing brothers Jacob and Mark, ages 8 and 11, in the residential area of Westlake Village, California. On Sept. 29, 2020, Grossman was allegedly street-racing with former MLB pitcher Scott Erickson when she struck the boys before fleeing the scene.
On Friday, Grossman entered a plea of not guilty to a number of charges, including murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, according to Fox News.
Grossman’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, released a statement claiming the incident was a “tragic accident," laying the blame on the city of Westlake Village for having a crosswalk that was “poorly marked, unguarded, and unlit.”
“In fact, that particular crosswalk had been the subject of scores of citizen complaints for many years,” Buzbee stated. “The city was repeatedly asked to upgrade and make the crosswalk safer. The city was told time after time that someone would be killed if measures were not taken.
“That night, due to the darkness, lack of lighting, and the color of clothing [Jacob and Mark Iskander] were wearing, my client never saw those little boys.”
Buzbee emphasized that Grossman was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, which was suspected in early reports. Grossman admitted to responding officers that she had a margarita about two hours before the collision, as seen in officers’ body-worn camera footage played at April’s preliminary hearing.
After allegedly hitting the Iskander brothers, witnesses said Grossman fled the scene before the vehicle stalled about a quarter-mile away. Grossman told officers, “I was driving, and all of a sudden, my airbag went off,” footage showed.
During Breathalyzer tests, Grossman blew a .075 and then .076 (under California’s legal limit of .08). According to the Los Angeles Times, however, the BAC (blood alcohol content) tests were administered 90 minutes after the crash.
“Importantly, contrary to some information that has been shared, Rebecca Grossman was not intoxicated, she has not been charged with DUI, and she certainly did not attempt to flee the scene,” Buzbee said in his statement. “Instead, she was cooperative and police with the investigating officers.”
Grossman was allegedly street-racing with Erickson; witnesses say she tailed Erickson’s SUV just before he swerved to avoid hitting the Iskanders, leaving no time for Grossman to stop. Grossman allegedly traveled more than 100 feet with one of the boys still on the hood of her car before the eyes of their horrified parents.
Nancy Iskander, the boys' mother, narrowly saved one of her younger children, who was riding a scooter, as well as her youngest child, who was in a baby stroller, but couldn’t grab Jacob or Mark in time.
“The killing of my sons were indirect consequences of those extremely reckless actions that basically used the car as a weapon,” the children’s father, Karim Iskander, said in April’s preliminary hearing. “I don’t see the difference between that and shooting a gun randomly.”
Grossman’s attorney doesn’t deny that his client was behind the wheel of the car that struck the boys but said that wasn’t enough to warrant the severe charges.
“Rebecca Grossman continues to mourn the loss of these two children who were lost in this tragic accident,” Buzbee stated. “What occurred that night was a horrible, unspeakable tragedy, but it was not murder. Traveling over the posted speed limit is simply not murder, no matter how the DA attempts to twist the facts for his own purposes.”
Buzbee said the prosecution overcharged his client in an attempt to twist his client’s arm into pleading out.
“The prosecution’s insistence on overcharging my client, a pillar of this community, with murder is nothing more than a transparent effort to force her to plea that is impeding progress in this case.”
Grossman is expected back in court in August, according to NBC Los Angeles, with her trial slated to begin in September.