Wealthy Los Angeles socialite and philanthropist Rebecca Grossman – who’s accused of running over and killing two young brothers while allegedly racing in her Mercedes – finally showed up at court Wednesday after spending more than a year free on $2 million bail.
But while Judge Shellie Samuels had intended to set a date today for a preliminary hearing, she was unable to do so because Grossman’s lawyer, Richard Sutton, is seriously ill and unable to continue with the case.
This forced the judge to reluctantly postpone the case yet again to give Grossman, 58, time to find a new lawyer. Exclusive photos showed Grossman looking on the verge of tears during Wednesday’s court appearance, which saw her don a black face mask because of COVID restrictions.
She was charged last year with two counts of murder, two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and one count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death for a September 29, 2020 crash that killed brothers Mark and Jacob Iskander, 11 and 9, in Westlake Village, California.
The boys were walking with their family about 7:10 p.m. and crossing a three-way intersection with a marked crosswalk – but no stoplight – when their parents heard a speeding car approaching.
They reached out to protect their children, but could only grab their two other children Zackary and Violet. Mark and Jacob were too far away and were hit by the white Mercedes, police said.
Wealthy Los Angeles socialite and philanthropist Rebecca Grossman is accused of running over and killing two young brothers while speeding in her white Mercedes
The court case was delayed yet again Wednesday after Grossman revealed her lawyer had fallen too ill to represent her
One boy was allegedly carried 100ft on the hood of the car before Grossman braked, at which point he fell off the car and she ran him over again as she fled the scene.
Mark died at the scene and Jacob died in a hospital a few hours later.
More than 14 months after the crash, justice remains elusive for the boys’ parents.
Judge Samuels apologized to the victims’ family – who were in court today in Van Nuys, west of Los Angeles- and who she said were enduring ’torture’ and ‘heartbreak’ while the case drags on.
Brothers Mark and Jacob Iskander, 11 and 9, were walking with their parents and siblings in Westlake Village, California, in September 2020 when they were struck and killed
The brothers are pictured in this undated school photos. One was declared dead at the scene while the other died in hospital
‘It’s been a year and two months since it happened,’ the judge said. ‘The victims’ family needs this case to go forward.
‘Two counts of murder will take a while to get to a preliminary hearing but not this long.’
Grossman – who showed up in court today in a gray check pant-suit, dark blue open-neck shirt and her blonde hair in a pony-tail – said ‘I understand,’ when the judge urged her to find a new attorney who will treat the case as a ‘priority’ and be prepared for a preliminary hearing ‘no later than March next year’.
Grossman was charged last year with two counts of murder, two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and one count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death
The Mercedes that struck and killed two brothers. Investigators said street racing may have been involved in the crash, which happened at the intersection of Triunfo Canyon Road and Saddle Mountain Drive
Samuels scheduled a new hearing for January 7 and said ‘I want you and your new attorney here,’ as she admonished Grossman who arrived at court with her husband, prominent plastic surgeon Peter Grossman, in a gray suit and tie.
That January appearance will then give the new attorney two months to prepare for a preliminary hearing where prosecutors will present evidence that Samuels will decide is or isn’t compelling enough to order Grossman to stand trial.
To the victims’ family the judge added, ‘I’m sorry…..but my hands are tied’, referring to the delay, yet again, in scheduling the preliminary hearing.
Rebecca and her surgeon husband Dr. Peter Grossman pictured together above
Three months ago Samuels blasted Grossman for not showing up at her previous five scheduled court appearances, all of which were continued, and ordered her to appear in court today.
‘I have never seen Ms. Grossman – she has not been to court once,’ said the frustrated judge at that September 14 hearing.
‘We can’t keep continuing this. This is a serious case. These victims lost two children – it’s detrimental to them that this is taking so long.’
The dead boys’ parents, Nancy and Karim Iskander – who have brought a civil lawsuit against Grossman, claiming she was drunk and driving at 70mph at the time of the crash – are ‘entitled’ to have a preliminary hearing as soon as possible, said the judge.
‘They need to hear the evidence,’ she added. ‘They want to know what happened. They probably don’t know exactly what happened. They are entitled to that.’
Memorial at the scene of the hit-and-run accident where Rebecca Grossman, 57, killed the two brothers
The judge said it was ‘unfair’ on the Iskanders for the case to drag on for ‘more than a year,’ Samuels said.
‘I have never seen [Grossman] in a year and it is frustrating for the [Iskander] family,’ she said. ‘The family is suffering.’
Police claim that when the boys were hit by her car, Grossman was driving over the 45 miles per hour speed limit and may have been racing with her friend and near-neighbor, ex-professional baseball player Craig Erickson, 52, while the two were on their way to the same house party.
Grossman’s current address is listed as a sprawling $7.6million mansion in Hidden Hills that features nine bedrooms and 12 bathrooms and is located next door to Full House actress Lori Loughlin
The nine-bedroom home’s entry way and spiral staircase pictured above
A view of the pool area of the home is shown in the estate’s sprawling backyard
Erickson – who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees – has been charged with reckless driving but he has not been accused of any other offenses connected with the brothers’ deaths.
Grossman – founder with her husband of the Grossman Burn Foundation and ex-publisher of Westlake Magazine – was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and driving under the influence after her front-end-damaged car broke down a quarter mile from the crash site.
Until now she has not been a actually charged with driving under the influence.
She was released on October 1 last year and since then she has been free on $2 million bail.
If convicted, she faces up to 34 years to life in state prison,
The boys’ parents are also suing Westlake Village, LA County and the State of California, claiming the crossing where the boys died, is ‘unsafe’.
DailyMail.com has learned Grossman – who lives in a $7.6 million, nine-bedroom mansion, in nearby Hidden Hills, on the same street as Full House actress Lori Loughlin – was also involved in previous accident where high speed was allegedly involved.
On that occasion, another driver Jeffrey Hammer claimed that she ran a red light while driving 65 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone and plowed into the back of his car.
The driver, Jeffrey Hammer, died from ill health in 2018. Ultimately, insurers found Grossman and Hammer (pictured with his wife) were both 50% at fault for the accident.
Hammer died from ill health in 2018, but an insurance report seen by DailyMail.com includes his detailed description of the crash.
Ultimately, insurers found Grossman and Hammer were both 50 percent at fault for the accident – but she later launched a personal injury lawsuit against the then 60-year-old man, despite telling police at the accident scene that she wasn’t injured.
Insurance paid out $100,000 in a settlement with Grossman, including compensation for her alleged injuries and about $15,000 for repairs to her Mercedes.
According to its website, the Grossman Burn Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Grossman Burn Centers Inc, which treats the victims of severe burns all over the world.
Grossman has also been involved in other humanitarian causes, including the prevention of violence against women, human rights and the American Heart Association, from whom she won a ‘Woman of the Year’ award in 2007.