It was a September afternoon in 2020 when Nancy Iskander and her three children approached a marked crosswalk in their exclusive suburban Los Angeles neighborhood.

As Iskander would later testify, he saw a black sport utility vehicle speeding toward the Westlake Village intersection as the family crossed. He grabbed his 5-year-old son, Zachary, and pulled him to safety as a black Mercedes SUV sped by.

But another SUV, a white Mercedes, was following closely behind, Iskander said. His oldest sons, Mark, 11, and Jacob, 8, were further into the intersection, and Iskander said he lost sight of them when he jumped out of the way.

Within seconds, two of her four children were missing. She found Jacob near the sidewalk, his heart still beating, but motionless, as if he were sleeping, she said. Authorities say he was thrown about 50 feet in the collision. He was taken to a hospital, where hours later he was pronounced dead. Mark’s body was 254 feet away, “every bone in his body…broken,” Iskander testified.

A sign displays an image of Mark Iskander, 11, left, and his brother Jacob Iskander, 8, outside the Van Nuys courthouse in 2022.

A sign displays an image of Mark Iskander, 11, left, and his brother Jacob Iskander, 8, outside the Van Nuys courthouse in 2022.

(Mel Melcón / Los Angeles Times)

A jury in Van Nuys is hearing evidence in the case against Rebecca Grossman, the driver of the white Mercedes, who has been criminally charged in the deaths of the Iskander brothers.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has filed its case and the defense will begin this week.

Here’s a review of the Hidden Hills socialite’s murder trial taken from the pages of The Times:

Rebecca Grossman, co-founder of the Grossman Burn Foundation

Rebecca Grossman, co-founder of the Grossman Burn Foundation

(Mel Melcón / Los Angeles Times)

Table of Contents

Who is Rebeca Grossman?

Los Angeles County prosecutors say Grossman was behind the wheel of the white Mercedes GLE 43 AMG on the night of September 29, 2020. Authorities say he was driving at a speed of 81 mph and traveled a third of a mile after crashing into the children in front of him. car off.

Grossman, 60, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one count of hit-and-run resulting in death. If she is convicted of all charges, she faces 34 years to life in prison.

He is a well-known figure in the local community. Grossman founded the Grossman Burn Foundation with her husband, Dr. Peter Grossman, whose family created the renowned medical center of the same name.

Who is Scott Erickson?

Scott Erickson, a former Dodger pitcher, was behind the wheel of the black SUV that sped through the intersection the night the Iskander children were killed.

Before the crash, Grossman and Erickson had been drinking cocktails at a nearby restaurant, Julio’s Agave Grill, according to witnesses. Grossman was separated from her husband, Peter, at the time, and she and Erickson, 56, were having a romantic relationship.

They were joined by another retired baseball player, Royce Clayton, who testified that Erickson drank two margaritas and Grossman drank one. They all agreed to meet later at Grossman’s house and watch a presidential debate, he told the jury.

Clayton, now a baseball coach at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, testified that he never went to Grossman’s house because he learned about the accident after speaking with Erickson on the phone a few hours later. When asked if he was still friends with Erickson, who denied any wrongdoing, the former All-Star shortstop said, “No.”

“I have children. … I just don’t understand how he could be so negligent and responsible for running over children,” Clayton said.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Scott Erickson in 2005.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Scott Erickson in 2005.

(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Grossman’s attorneys claim Erickson is responsible for the deaths because his vehicle hit the children first, a claim prosecutors say is false.

Nancy Iskander has testified that Erickson’s black pickup truck never hit her children, but could have killed her and her youngest son if she had not moved out of the way and put him safely in the bike path.

“I know she killed them,” Iskander testified earlier this month, saying he has no doubt it was the white pickup truck he now knows Grossman was driving that fatally struck his two children.

Three witnesses to the fatal crash testified that they saw one, but not both, hit by the white SUV or a light-colored vehicle.

Another expert witness testified that Erickson denied hitting anyone that night, but he did see the children and a reflective scooter, which Iskander had said Zachary was driving.

Erickson was initially charged with misdemeanor reckless driving after the crash, but it was dismissed after he made a public service announcement about the importance of safe driving.

His attorney, Mark Werksman, said he does not plan to address the issues raised in Grossman’s trial, but added: “This may change over the course of the next few days (or) weeks.”

What have prosecutors presented?

Two women place flowers at a memorial for Mark and Jacob Iskander in Westlake Village in September 2020.

Two women place flowers at a memorial for Mark and Jacob Iskander in Westlake Village in September 2020.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

What do we expect from the defense?

Grossman’s defense team, led by Tony Buzbee, is expected to present its case starting Tuesday, and Buzbee has already given a strong indication of his plans.

Buzbee told jurors in his opening statements that he would prove that Erickson hid in nearby bushes after the crash and watched as Grossman was taken into custody.

Alexis Grossman, the defendant’s daughter, is expected to testify that she arrived at the scene, where she saw her mother’s car and Erickson, a former World Series winner, lurking nearby and watching investigators. She is also expected to reveal comments he made to her.

The defense is expected to expand on an earlier allegation that Erickson was not driving a black 2007 Mercedes pickup truck that night, as he reported to authorities. Buzbee alleged in his initial statement that Erickson was actually driving a black 2016 Mercedes GL63 AMG, a powerful V-8 version of the SUV. Investigators and experts already admitted on the witness stand that officers did not examine his vehicle.

Witnesses will likely be called to testify about photographs of the newer vehicle and whether it was seen immediately after the fatal crash.

Major failures in the collection of broken car parts on Triunfo Canyon Road and procedural failures by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are also expected to be the subject of testimony.

Buzbee will present witnesses who will attempt to undermine the “black box” of Grossman’s SUV, its event data recorder, which investigators say showed him reaching speeds of 81 mph and traveling at 73 mph at the time of impact at the intersection. pedestrians. During the prosecution’s presentation, Buzbee repeatedly suggested that Grossman was going much slower and that Erickson was in the faster vehicle.

Similarly, the defense will seek to undermine suggestions that a positive Valium test and a blood alcohol level at or slightly below 0.08% (California’s legal limit) would render a driver intoxicated.

By Sam