High-Profile Trial of Rebecca Grossman Nears Conclusion in Fatal Collision Case

The high-profile trial of Rebecca Grossman, a prominent figure in the local community, is reaching its conclusion as the jury prepares to determine her fate in the 2020 collision that resulted in the tragic deaths of Mark and Jacob Iskander, aged 11 and 8, at a Westlake Village crosswalk. Grossman, 60, faces two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and one count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death. If found guilty on all charges, she could potentially face 34 years to life in prison.

Throughout the six-week trial, which has been covered by Times staff writer Richard Winton, unsettling details, emotional outbursts, and witness testimonies have unfolded. To secure a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors must prove that Grossman acted with implied malice, knowingly disregarding the risk of her actions being deadly. Although she was not charged with driving under the influence, prosecutors allege that Grossman was impaired. They claim that she had cocktails with Scott Erickson, a former Dodgers pitcher, and engaged in a race with him along Triunfo Canyon Road, ultimately leading to the fatal collision with the Iskander brothers.

Evidence presented in court revealed that Grossman’s blood-alcohol level was approximately 0.075% at the scene, slightly above California’s legal limit of 0.08%. Traces of Valium were also found in her system. Prosecutors argued that Grossman reached a speed of 81 mph before lightly braking and then striking the boys at 73 mph, causing one child to be thrown into the air. They further emphasized that Grossman did not stop until the safety features on her car shut it down. A crash expert testified that if Grossman had been traveling at the posted speed limit of 45 mph, she could have avoided hitting the boys, as they would have already been at the curb.

The defense team, however, contended that Erickson was the first to strike the boys, presenting crash reconstruction experts who testified to this effect. They argued that if there was any doubt that the black car hit one of the children, the case should be dismissed. Grossman’s defense attorneys also presented witnesses who testified that she drove responsibly, was not impaired, and did not exceed a speed of 52 mph. They claimed that the collision occurred outside the crosswalk.

Grossman chose not to testify in the trial, but her daughter, Alexis Grossman, provided tearful testimony supporting the defense’s argument that Erickson was at fault. After closing argument rebuttals, the case is expected to be handed over to the jury on Thursday.

Murder charges in car deaths are uncommon, as vehicular killings are typically categorized as manslaughter. The distinction lies in the prosecutor’s ability to prove intent. While manslaughter involves recklessness or negligence, murder requires a deliberate act. In this case, prosecutors have charged Grossman with murder based on the belief that she acted with implied malice due to her alleged impairment.

Author: CrimeDoor

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