'Part of me is dead' - Nancy Iskander disappointed in Grossman sentence, apology

Grossman apology insincere, says mother of boys killed in crosswalk
Nancy Iskander says the sentencing of Rebecca Grossman in the death of Mark and Jacob Iskander and the socialite's apology were both insufficient.
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Thursday, June 13, 2024

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Two days after socialite Rebecca Grossman was sentenced to 15 years to life for the hit-and-run deaths of Mark and Jacob Iskander, the boys' mother is expressing disappointment in the sentence and in Grossman's attempt at an apology in court.

Nancy Iskander sat down with Eyewitness News to discuss the heartbreaking ordeal and how she is trying to heal her family and use the tragedy to make life better for other children.

"If your child is happy you're happy, if your child is sad, you're sad," she said.

"When your child dies, you die. I have no doubt: Part of me is dead. And it's dead because of her. And I have to function and take care of little kids while I'm half dead."

Mark, age 11, and Jacob, 8, were killed in September 2020 as they were walking in a Westlake Village crosswalk with their mother and youngest brother Zachary. Rebecca Grossman crashed into Mark and Jacob, killing them both and fled the scene.

Grossman was convicted of two counts of second degree murder.

'Stab in my heart'

Nancy Iskander was dismayed by the sentence she said because the judge treated the deaths of the two boys as if they were one life, and allowed the hit-and-run portion of the charges to be served concurrently.

They were not a single life, she said. They were two boys with distinct personalities and interests in life.

Jacob only needed one step, one more step exactly to survive and not be hit by her car.
Nancy Iskander

"The 15 to life was a stab in my heart," Iskander said.

"In two different ways: The first way was that he lumped both boys as if they were one. And they were not. If you ask any parent, they will tell you their kids are not the same person. They're different. They have two different personalities."

"Especially kids who had their whole lives in front of them. You can't count them two for one. It's extremely unfair."

"Had (Grossman) been maybe a little less drunk or maybe paying attention a little bit, she could've avoided one of them. Jacob only needed one step, one more step exactly to survive and not be hit by her car."

Nancy Iskander explains disappointment in Grossman sentence

Nancy Iskander is explaining why she was disappointed in the sentence handed out to socialite Rebecca Grossman for the deaths of her sons Mark and Jacob Iskander.

Grossman spoke in court Monday. Nancy Iskander started to leave the courtroom - believing she was about to hear insincere words - but Grossman begged her to stay. She returned to her seat.

"I've waited for four years to say I'm sorry to you," Grossman said in court. "I wanted to tell you all the pain I have for you. I'm so sorry I didn't reach out to you. Prosecutors warned me not to. I just wanted to be a human being and talk to you parent to parent, mother to mother. I wanted to leave this world. I didn't want to be here anymore."

"I promise I never saw anyone. I believe God knows the truth."

"If I could just bring Mark and Jacob back, I would give my life. I am so so sorry. I've wanted to talk to you for so long.. I'm sorry that did not happen. I didn't flee. My car turned off. My pain is nothing compared to your pain. I'm so sorry for what happened to you."

But the words seemed insincere to Nancy Iskander.

"I'll first tell you what made me leave my seat. I expected her to be her: Not genuine, not true, not sorry."

"So I wanted to leave. When she begged me I wanted to give her the opportunity to talk. Maybe something had changed."

"But as soon as she started talking it was exactly what I expected. It was not real. It was not I'm sorry I killed them. It was I'm sorry for your loss."

I expected her to be her: Not genuine, not true, not sorry.
Nancy Iskander

Honoring Mark & Jacob's legacy

The Iskander family has been involved in multiple charitable efforts to honor the memory of Mark and Jacob. They help underprivileged children with academic and mental-health issues.

The Mark & Jacob Iskander Foundation has built an orphanage in Egypt, provides scholarships to students in Southern California and is now starting a foster care agency here which is expected to be licensed soon.

Nancy Iskander says the foundation named for her sons has built an orphanage in Egypt, provides scholarships to students in Southern California and is now launching a foster care agency.

Nancy Iskander says the foundation was started to try to help other children and to assist with their own family's healing.

"Immediately after the collision, and the boys leaving us, it became clear to me that the only way we could heal was by serving and helping others," she said.

"You feel like you're broken for life and you cannot live another day. So we decided helping others would be the way to go. I wanted Zachary and Violet, my kids who survived that tragic day, to learn from that and to know that a tragic thing can happen in life, but you can turn it into a blessing if you work hard."