Rebecca Grossman's husband testifies in defense of wife accused of killing 2 boys in crash

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Called to the stand as the defense's first witness, the director of the Grossman Burn Centers testified in her murder trial that he had been in a vehicle hundreds of times when she was behind the wheel but he could not ever recall her driving over the speed limit.

Rebecca Grossman is charged with two counts each of murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one felony count of hit-and- run driving resulting in death in connection with a Sept. 29, 2020, crash in Westlake Village that killed 11-year-old Mark Iskander and his 8-year-old brother, Jacob.

The prosecution alleges that Grossman was speeding at the time she hit the boys, with Deputy District Attorney Ryan Gould telling jurors that Grossman was "flooring it" to get herself up to 81 miles per hour on a 45- mile-per-hour street and driving just over 70 mph at the time of impact. The older boy died at the scene and his 8-year-old sibling died at a hospital.

Grossman's attorneys insisted she was not the driver responsible for the deadly crash, which they contend occurred outside a crosswalk. Lead defense attorney Tony Buzbee -- who contends that Grossman was driving 52 mph "at best" -- pointed the blame at former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Scott Erickson, whom he alleges was driving a black Mercedes SUV just ahead of Grossman's white Mercedes-Benz SUV.

Erickson was described by the prosecutor as Grossman's boyfriend at the time.

Grossman's husband, Dr. Peter Grossman, said he learned from their daughter about the deadly crash, telling jurors that his wife was "almost inconsolable, crying, trembling, incredibly emotional" when he picked her up at a jail in Lynwood about 30 hours after the crash.

He said he subsequently took photos of bruising and contusions to her body the following morning when she complained of soreness and pain.

Testimony continues in the murder trial of socialite Rebecca Grossman, who is accused of hitting and killing two young brothers in a crash in Westlake Village.

Under cross-examination by Deputy District Attorney Jamie Castro, the woman's husband said he had been in a vehicle "hundreds of times" while she was driving.

"I don't have a recollection of that," he said, when the prosecutor asked if his wife was "somebody you knew to drive over the speed limit."

At a hearing outside the jury's presence, prosecutors indicated that Rebecca Grossman had received four speeding tickets over a period of about two decades. But jurors did not hear about the tickets during questioning of Grossman's husband.

The doctor described his wife -- whom he married in 2000 -- as "the engine" that makes the Grossman Burn Foundation work, but said the two had begun dating others after deciding to separate within their own home.

He testified that he had never met Erickson but knew that his wife had decided to date him, saying that he had seen Erickson's vehicle -- which he described as a newer model black Mercedes-Benz AMG.

In the Rebecca Grossman murder trial, a jury heard heart-wrenching testimony from the mother of two boys fatally struck as they crossed a street in Westlake Village.

He said under cross-examination that he knew his wife and Erickson had spoken after the collision, but said he wasn't aware when asked if the two had maintained their romantic relationship after the crash.

The doctor acknowledged that he maintains a good relationship with his wife despite their separation and has been in court every day during the trial.

Meanwhile, a private investigator working for the defense told the Van Nuys jury that five pieces of vehicle debris from the crash scene, including two Mercedes-Benz emblems, were missing when he went to the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station last week to examine evidence.

A traffic engineer hired by the defense testified that it was hard to see the crosswalk where the prosecution contends the boys were struck, and said signage alerting motorists to watch for pedestrians pointed at a location well before where the crosswalk began. William Kunzman told jurors that changes have since been made to improve the visibility of the crosswalk.

David Notowitz, an audio and video forensics expert retained by the defense, testified that surveillance video from two locations showed Grossman's SUV traveling at 51.9 mph and 52.7 mph -- both after the crash, while he opined that the black vehicle in front of her was traveling at 72 miles per hour.

On cross-examination, he acknowledged that his estimates of speed that Grossman's vehicle was traveling were post-collision.

"You don't know how fast she was going at the time of the collision?" Gould asked.

He responded that was correct.

Rebecca Grossman is free on $2 million bond. She could face up to 34 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.