Rebecca Grossman’s murder verdict disgusts the mother of the dead boys

Nancy Iskander went to court for months hoping to get justice for her two sons, who were struck and killed by philanthropist Rebecca Grossman in a Westlake Village crosswalk.

She gave graphic, painful testimony that she witnessed Grossman’s Mercedes speeding toward the boys as they were going on a family walk in their neighborhood. During the sentencing on Monday, she told how Grossman refused to apologize at the hospital that evening.

Now Iskander says she is disgusted by the final outcome of the case.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Brandolino on Monday sentenced Grossman to two concurrent terms of 15 years to life and another three years for leaving the scene of a fatal crash. This means Grossman will serve 15 years of his life sentence. She faced 34 years to life in prison.

“I feel it’s a blow to the heart that he treated these two lovely boys as one child,” said Nancy Iskander, who believed the sentences should have been handed down consecutively, one for each of her sons. “These are two different lives. These are two boys and they don’t go two in one.

More than a dozen friends and family members of the Iskanders appeared before the judge to describe the pain caused by the deaths of 11-year-old Mark and 8-year-old Jacob and to ask Grossman for a long prison sentence.

The Grossman Burn Foundation co-founder was convicted in February of two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of aggravated vehicular homicide in the September 2020 killings of two children.

“There’s no such thing as killing them a little,” Iskander said. “She killed them.”

Prosecutors have repeatedly emphasized that Grossman showed no remorse for his crimes.

But before the verdict was announced Monday, she stood in a Van Nuys courtroom to make one last request – to Iskander.

But when the grieving mother got up and wanted to leave, Grossman insisted that she stay.

“Please don’t go. I’ve been waiting almost four years to contact you.

Iskander leaned back in her chair and lowered her head.

Karim and Nancy Iskander greet supporters outside the Van Nuys courtroom.

Karim and Nancy Iskander greet supporters outside the Van Nuys courtroom on Monday.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

“I just wanted to say how sorry I am,” she said in a hoarse voice.

Grossman said she had long hoped to speak to Iskander “parent to parent, mother to mother.”

“I’m very, very sorry,” she said. “My pain is nothing compared to your pain – not even a fraction.”

On Monday, Iskander spoke before Grossman’s sentencing on the day she was hospitalized after the accident. Mark died on impact, “every bone in his body… was broken,” Iskander testified during Grossman’s trial. Jacob, 8, was fighting for his life in the emergency room.

Deputies took Grossman to the same hospital for treatment after the collision on Triunfo Canyon Road. Both women saw each other there.

“She looked into my eyes,” Iskander said, her voice rising with emotion as she looked at Grossman in the courtroom. “This was your chance. You looked into my eyes. You knew they were dying.

“She’s a coward,” Iskander said of Grossman.

Grossman and Iskander spent six weeks in court during their murder trial, but this was the moment the two were able to talk about what sentence Grossman should receive.

Ultimately, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joseph Brandolino’s ruling did not satisfy prosecutors, who said the sentence was inappropriate.

In pre-sentencing court documents, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Grossman had demonstrated “a complete lack of remorse and a narcissistic superiority that leads to only one conclusion: that she is undeserving of any leniency.”

Brandolino, however, said that while Grossman’s behavior was “reckless and undoubtedly negligent,” she is “not the monster that prosecutors made her out to be.”

Dr. Peter Grossman leaves the Van Nuys courthouse with his children, Nick and Alexis.

Dr. Peter Grossman leaves the Van Nuys courthouse with his children, Nick and Alexis, after his wife, Rebecca Grossman, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Until Monday, Grossman had said little publicly about the case.

Turning to Iskander, she insisted that she was sorry, saying that she wished she had died instead of the boys.

“If I could give my life right now and say to God, ‘Can you just bring Mark and James back,’ I would tell God to take my life,” she said.

However, to Iskander, Grossman’s emotions did not seem genuine. “Her crying yesterday was all there was for me to see.”

The Grossman family submitted testimonials, trying to show that there was good in her. Her son Nick told the court: “My mother is not the bad person the media paints her out to be.”

But his comments did not sway Sheriff Iskander, the boys’ uncle, who said Grossman was “trying to get away with murder.”

Nancy Iskander and her husband Karim believe the verdict also sends the wrong message about leaving the scene of an accident. By not adding additional years in prison for the hit-and-run, the judge is “telling society it’s OK to hit and run,” Iskander said. She and her husband now honor their sons’ memory by establishing a foundation to support disadvantaged children.

The verdict left her “very disappointed with the justice system,” she said.

“No one has the right to kill anyone and run away,” Iskander said. “I’m still looking for the day she admitted she did it.”