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Murder conviction against Rebecca Grossman disgusts the mother of the dead boys

For months, Nancy Iskander waited in court for justice for her two young sons who were hit and killed by philanthropist Rebecca Grossman in a crosswalk in Westlake Village.

She gave graphic, heartbreaking testimony about how Grossman’s Mercedes sped toward the boys as they took a family walk in their neighborhood. At the sentencing hearing on Monday, she described how Grossman refused to apologize in the hospital that night.

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

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Brandolino sentenced Grossman on Monday to two prison terms of 15 years to life and three years for fleeing the scene of an accident. This means Grossman will serve a prison term of 15 years to life. She was facing 34 years to life.

“It’s a stab in the heart that he counted these two lovely boys as one child,” said Nancy Iskander, who said the sentences should have been consecutive, one for each of her sons. “They’re two different lives. They’re two boys, and they’re not getting two for 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 call for a long prison sentence for Grossman.

The co-founder of the Grossman Burn Foundation was found guilty in February of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of negligent manslaughter and hit-and-run resulting in death in connection with the killing of the two children in September 2020.

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

Prosecutors have repeatedly stated that Grossman has shown no remorse for his crimes.

But before her verdict on Monday, she stood in a courtroom in Van Nuys to make a final plea – to Iskander.

However, when the grieving mother stood up to leave, Grossman urged her to stay.

“Please don’t go. I’ve waited 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 courtroom in Van Nuys on Monday.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

“I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am,” she said in a croaky voice.

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

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

On Monday, before Grossman’s sentencing, Iskander spoke about the evening she rushed to the hospital after the crash. Mark was dead on impact, “every bone in his body … broken,” Iskander testified during Grossman’s trial. Jacob, 8, fought for his life in the emergency room.

Officers took Grossman to the same hospital for treatment after the collision on Triunfo Canyon Road. The two women met there.

“She looked me in the eyes,” Iskander said, her voice growing more emotional as she stared at Grossman in the courtroom. “This was your chance. You looked me in the eyes. You knew you were dying.”

“She is a coward,” Iskander said of Grossman.

Grossman and Iskander had spent six weeks in court during the murder trial, but now both were able to discuss what sentence Grossman should receive.

Prosecutors were ultimately dissatisfied with the ruling handed down by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joseph Brandolino, who felt the punishment was inappropriate.

In court documents ahead of the sentencing, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Grossman “has demonstrated a complete lack of remorse and a narcissistic sense of superiority, which only leads to the conclusion that she deserves no leniency whatsoever.”

However, Brandolino said that while Grossman’s conduct was “reckless and undoubtedly negligent,” she was “not the monster prosecutors have portrayed her as.”

Dr. Peter Grossman leaves a courthouse in Van Nuys with his children Nick and Alexis.

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

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Until Monday, Grossman had made little public comment on the case.

Addressing Iskander, she stressed that she was sorry and said she wished she had died and not the boys.

“If I could give my life right now and say to God, ‘Could you please bring Mark and Jacob back?’ I would ask God to take my life,” she said.

For Iskander, however, Grossman’s feelings did not seem genuine. “For me, her crying yesterday was just a show.”

Grossman’s family presented testimony to show the good in her. Her son Nick told the court, “My mother is not the bad person the media portrays her to be.”

But his comments did not convince Sherif 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 hit-and-runs. By not adding extra years to the hit-and-run conviction, the judge is “telling the public that hit-and-runs are OK,” Iskander said. She and her husband now honor their sons’ memories with a foundation to help disadvantaged children.

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

“Nobody has the right to kill someone and run away,” Iskander said. “I’m still waiting for the day she admits she did it.”