WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (CNS) -- Jurors are set to hear opening statements Friday in the trial of a co-founder of the Grossman Burn Foundation, who is charged with murder and other counts for allegedly running down two young brothers in a Westlake Village crosswalk.
Rebecca Grossman, now 60, was charged in December 2020 with two felony counts each of murder and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, along with one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death, in connection with the Sept. 29, 2020, deaths of 11-year-old Mark Iskander and his 8-year-old brother, Jacob.
Prosecutors allege that Grossman drove at excessive speeds on Triunfo Canyon Road and struck the two boys as they were crossing the street with their parents in a marked crosswalk.
Sheriff's officials said after the crash that family members were crossing the three-way intersection -- which does not have a stoplight -- in the crosswalk when the mother heard a car speeding toward them and both parents reached out to protect two of their children, but the two boys were too far out in the intersection and were struck.
The older boy died at the scene and his 8-year-old sibling died at a hospital.
Grossman allegedly continued driving after striking the boys, eventually stopping about a quarter-mile away from the scene when her car engine stopped running, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
In a conversation with an operator through a Mercedes-Benz service following the crash, Grossman said she didn't know if she had hit anyone and that she was driving when her airbag exploded.
"I don't know what I hit," she said in the recording when a 911 operator was patched in and asked if she had hit a person.
In a statement on a website supporting Grossman, the defense contends that eyewitnesses reported to the Sheriff's Department that multiple vehicles had hit the children and that the defense's reconstruction experts will show that "Grossman's vehicle was not the first vehicle to hit the children and another eyewitness indicated that she also was not the last vehicle that made contact with the children."
The website alleges that the Sheriff's Department "took the easy route and focused on the driver of the only vehicle that stayed after the accident occurred -- Rebecca Grossman."
Grossman's lead defense attorney, Tony Buzbee, said in a statement on the website, "She is not guilty of any of the accusations that have been made against her. She was not impaired, she was not racing, she was not going the speed they claim and she never fled the scene."
Buzbee called it a "clear-cut case of malicious prosecution."
Grossman is free on $2 million bond.
She was ordered to stand trial in May 2022 by Superior Court Judge Shellie Samuels. Superior Court Judge Joseph Brandolino, who is presiding over the case, subsequently denied a defense motion to dismiss the murder charges.
The defendant -- who could face up to 34 years to life in prison if convicted as charged -- is the wife of Dr. Peter Grossman, who is the director of the Grossman Burn Centers and son of the center's late founder, A. Richard Grossman.
Rebecca and Peter Grossman were separated at the time of the crash, according to a statement by her husband posted on the website supporting her.
She is a co-founder of the Grossman Burn Foundation and a former publisher of Westlake Magazine.
Brandolino said at the start of the jury selection process that he expected the trial to last about six weeks.