California socialite receives 15 years to life for fatally striking two boys with car

<span>Rebecca Grossman, left, and daughter head to Van Nuys courthouse in Los Angeles, California, on 14 February 2024.</span><span>Photograph: Irfan Khan/AP</span>
Rebecca Grossman, left, and daughter head to Van Nuys courthouse in Los Angeles, California, on 14 February 2024.Photograph: Irfan Khan/AP

Rebecca Grossman, the California socialite who was found guilty of murder earlier this year for fatally striking two children with her car, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

A Los Angeles county judge on Monday ruled that Grossman should serve two 15-years-to-life sentences concurrently. She will also serve three years for fleeing the scene concurrently with her other sentences.

She had faced 34 years in prison for her role in the 2020 deaths of Mark Iskander, 11, and Jacob Iskander, eight.

In February, a jury found Grossman guilty of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, and one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death. The 60-year-old had recently sought a new trial, but her request was denied last week.

The sentencing brings to a close the years-long legal saga around the deaths of the Iskander brothers. Grossman, a cofounder of the Grossman Burn Foundation, was speeding in her Mercedes SUV through the community of Westlake Village on 29 September 2020 when she fatally struck the two boys at 73mph. The children had been traveling through a crosswalk on scooters and skates with their family.

During the highly publicized trial, prosecutors said that Grossman had been driving behind Scott Erickson, a retired Dodgers pitcher who she was allegedly romantically involved with. The pair had been drinking at a nearby restaurant before the collision. Moments before she hit the Iskander brothers, she had been traveling at speeds of 81mph, far above the 45mph speed limit, the prosecution argued.

“She acted with disregard for human life,’ a prosecutor said during the trial.

Grossman’s defense team had argued that the boys were first struck by another car, and that her role in the incident was an accident rather than murder.

Prosecutors had asked that Grossman spend the rest of her life in prison, serving 34 years to life. They said her actions had shown a lack of remorse and that she had refused to take responsibility. “She has lived a life of privilege and clearly felt that her wealth and notoriety would buy her freedom,” prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum.

Grossman’s attorneys and supporters pointed to her work for the Grossman Burn Foundation, describing her as a “humanitarian”. Her lawyers asked for probation or a shorter prison term of about 12 years. In a letter to the judge, Grossman said she was not a murderer.

“My pain, my recognition of the pain the Iskanders suffer and the pain I watch my family endure, are punishments that I already suffer and will for the rest of my life,” she wrote.