Rebecca Grossman found guilty of murder in deadly crash that killed 2 young brothers

Rebecca Grossman, center, with her husband, Dr. Peter Grossman, left, and daughter heads to Van Nuys Courthouse West Van Nuys, CA. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Jurors reached a verdict Friday in the murder trial of Grossman Burn Foundation co-founder Rebecca Grossman, who is charged in a 2020 crash in Los Angeles that left two young brothers dead.

Grossman was found guilty on all six counts, including two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and two counts of hit-and-run resulting in death.

The nine-man, three-woman jury reached its verdict on the second day of deliberations, mulling the evidence for a total of about nine hours before rejecting a defense contention that Grossman's then-boyfriend, former Dodgers Scott Erickson, was the one who fatally struck 11-year-old Mark Iskander and his 8-year-old brother, Jacob, on Sept. 29, 2020.

At a hearing outside the jury's presence Friday, Deputy District Attorney Ryan Gould asked Superior Court Judge Joseph Brandolino to order Grossman to be taken into custody. The prosecutor said videos that were not allowed by the judge to be used in the trial were sent Thursday to a reporter after Grossman asked for a business card, saying that is a direct violation of the court's protective order and that it can only be interpreted as an "attempt to influence the jury."

A bodycam video that had also been excluded from the trial also wound up on a Facebook page to which Grossman's daughter belongs, according to the prosecutor.

One of Grossman's attorneys, John Hobson, told the judge that it was the first he had heard about the alleged leaks of the videos, and said that it didn't mean that the email sent to the reporter came from Grossman.


The judge -- who noted that jurors had been admonished not to go on the Internet or view media reports about the case -- declined to immediately order Grossman to be taken into custody and said he needed to further review the matter.

But he warned the defendant that she cannot provide evidence to reporters, telling her, "You just can't do it. ... You don't want to end up being remanded."

Grossman asked the judge if she could put something on the record, with her attorneys quickly trying to silence her. Her husband, Dr. Peter Grossman, medical director of the Grossman Burn Centers, called out, "Rebecca!"

The jury got the case against Grossman shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday after hearing a rebuttal argument from the prosecutor, who urged the jury to "hold the defendant responsible for murdering Mark and Jacob."

The jury's request to re-hear portions of the testimony came just over three hours after it was handed the case. The requests centered on the placement of the pedestrians in the crosswalk, the position of the vehicles as they approached the crosswalk and what the victim's mother, Nancy, saw and heard immediately before, during and after she jumped out of the way with her youngest son to avoid being hit by the black SUV before Grossman's white Mercedes-Benz SUV passed through the crosswalk. The defense has contended that the boys were not in the crosswalk when they were struck.

Jurors also asked to re-hear former Major League Baseball player Royce Clayton's response to lead defense attorney Tony Buzbee's question about why he and Erickson are no longer friends.

"I have kids ... I just don't understand how he could be so negligent and be responsible for running down kids," Clayton said in his testimony Jan. 29. The judge rejected a subsequent effort by Clayton to return to the stand to clarify what he meant.

Jurors were due back in court Friday afternoon in connection with another request made by the panel just before lunch.

Grossman's lead attorney, Tony Buzbee, kicked off his closing argument Wednesday by asking jurors, "Where is Scott Erickson? Where is the guy?" in the first of repeated references to Erickson, whom the prosecution said was Rebecca Grossman's boyfriend at the time.

He told jurors that "Erickson hit the kids first" and questioned why the prosecution hadn't called the ex-baseball player during the case.

Prosecutors maintained that there was "not a shred" of evidence that Erickson struck the children, with Gould calling that a "ridiculous theory."

The deputy district attorney told jurors that the defense has the same right to bring people into court, prompting Grossman's attorney to quickly object that the defense "was not able to do that."

The prosecutor said Grossman hit the children as they were in a marked crosswalk and had a "duty to stop," but "never returned" to the scene. He said debris from the crash matched Grossman's white Mercedes-Benz SUV.

The deputy district attorney said that Grossman was "driving too fast," "knew that speed kills" and was "impaired."

Grossman lied about how many alcoholic beverages she consumed, according to the prosecutor, who acknowledged that a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who performed a field sobriety test on Grossman had "made mistakes."

The prosecutor questioned whether it would be worse if the woman was sober when she made the decision to speed, saying that she was "flooring it."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Brothers killed in Westlake Village crash; co-founder of prominent burn center arrested

The prosecution contends that Grossman was speeding at 81 mph in a 45-mph zone just seconds before impact, and that data from the vehicle's so-called black box showing that she was driving 73 mph at the time of the crash was reliable.

In her closing argument Wednesday, Deputy District Attorney Jamie Castro told the jury that Grossman "continued driving as far as her car would let her" before the vehicle's engine cut off about one-third of a mile away.

Grossman's lead attorney had told jurors in his closing argument that Grossman was traveling at 54 mph "at best" and that she didn't know why her airbags had deployed. He said the vehicle rolled to a stop after the collision, and disputed the prosecution's contention that she was impaired and fled the scene.

Buzbee alleged that authorities failed to properly investigate the crash and determine who actually hit the boys.

He called the case a "rush to judgment," saying they "put their blinders on" and didn't consider that anyone else might be responsible for the crash.

The defense attorney noted that "You couldn't keep me away from this courthouse" to clear his own name if someone were accusing him.

He urged jurors to acquit Grossman of all of the charges, saying that the prosecution had brought a murder case but had not been able to prove what happened the night of the crash.

"I think we now have seen she ain't guilty of anything," Buzbee told the panel.

Grossman is free on $2 million bond. She faces up to 34 years to life in state prison.

CNS contributed to this report.