A former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and boyfriend of an L.A. socialite charged with homicide within the deaths of two younger brothers is answerable for the fatalities as a result of his automobile struck the boys first, protection attorneys informed jurors Friday.
Greater than three years after Rebecca Grossman was charged with the murders of Jacob and Mark Iskander, 8 and 11, opening statements started with the protection pointing the finger at Scott Erickson, who they are saying was the primary to barrel by means of the Westlake crosswalk the place the youngsters have been hit.
Tony Buzbee, Grossman’s lead lawyer, informed jurors “she didn’t do something, however another person did,” including that authorities by no means examined Erickson’s automobile after the lethal incident.
Witnesses are anticipated to testify they heard Erickson’s high-powered black Mercedes SUV racing down the road and noticed it strike each boys, who have been hurled by means of the air after the collision.
Buzbee mentioned he’ll introduce video proof displaying that after the crash, the previous Dodger was nonetheless touring 70 mph, a pace the protection says was greater than 20 mph quicker than Grossman.
“We’ll show that the black automobile was pushed by Scott Erickson, who stopped down the highway and hid within the bushes and watched,” Buzbee mentioned. “Scott Erickson’s automobile hit these youngsters. That’s what … the science on this case will present.”
Prosecutors, nevertheless, argued that Grossman, who was trailing Erickson’s SUV, sped by means of the marked crosswalk on Triunfo Canyon Highway at Saddle Mountain Drive at greater than 70 mph.
Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Ryan Gould mentioned the 60-year-old Hidden Hills socialite had alcohol and medicines in her system, which impaired her driving. He mentioned Grossman solely stopped after her Mercedes was disabled by security techniques following the collision.
Grossman is charged with two counts of second-degree homicide, two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one depend of hit-and-run driving leading to loss of life. If convicted of all fees, she faces 34 years to life in jail.
Graphic testimony is anticipated from Nancy Iskander, who was crossing the road on Sept. 29, 2020, with three of her youngsters when she heard the roar of approaching engines on the quiet 45-mph avenue. She testified throughout a preliminary listening to in 2022 that she threw up her proper hand in a determined effort to cease the oncoming autos and grabbed her 5-year-old son, Zachary, pulling him to security. She couldn’t attain Mark and Jacob, who have been farther into the road. She mentioned she and Jacob have been on inline skates, Zachary was on his scooter and Mark was on his skateboard because the household crossed the residential boulevard. Her husband and daughter have been jogging close by.
Gould informed jurors on Friday that Grossman, who prosecutors say was rushing residence behind Erickson after the 2 had been consuming at a close-by restaurant, “knew what she was doing was extremely harmful.”
Two checks of her blood-alcohol stage returned readings of 0.08%, California’s authorized restrict, and 0.074%/0.075%, courtroom data present. Valium was additionally present in her blood pattern. She isn’t charged with driving beneath the affect.
“She acted with implied malice,” the required factor prosecutors must show second-degree homicide, Gould mentioned. “If she was doing the pace restrict, she wouldn’t have hit Mark and Jacob; they might have had time to cross.”
Prosecution witnesses are anticipated to testify they noticed the rushing SUVs, with one describing the sound of the highly effective autos “like an 18-wheeler.”
“They make the right-hand flip, after which they punch it,” Gould informed the jurors.
The black field on Grossman’s SUV confirmed she was going 73 mph at influence, and the gap the boys have been thrown — Jacob about 50 ft and Mark 254 ft — supported a pace of greater than 70 mph at influence, Gould mentioned. Mark died of traumatic blunt pressure damage, and Jacob was internally decapitated, he informed jurors.
Gould mentioned Grossman didn’t cease for over a 3rd of a mile from the intersection and solely did so as a result of her Mercedes’ airbag deployed, triggering a gasoline shutoff and a name to a security operator.
He performed a tape of Grossman telling an operator: “I used to be driving down the highway, abruptly, my bag exploded.” When a 911 operator on the road with the Mercedes consultant requested, “Did they hit an individual? They mentioned the 2 youngsters have been hit on Rollerblades?” Grossman replied, “No.”
However Buzbee argued his consumer was not the one to fatally strike the youngsters, suggesting the Iskander brothers “weren’t within the crosswalk,” and as an alternative have been reducing a nook. He mentioned the front-end harm to her automobile was brought on when one of many boys — first hit by Erickson — bounced onto her SUV. He additionally promised an knowledgeable would testify why Grossman’s airbag deployed whereas Erickson’s didn’t.
“We’ll present that the investigation was completely horrible,” the lawyer informed a jury panel of 9 males and three girls. “We’ll present a black AMG Mercedes … is the automobile that hit the youngsters first,” including that “a number of eyewitnesses heard two impacts.”
He mentioned Grossman’s driving was not impaired — she had “a drink and a half in two hours” — and the quantity of Valium in her system was barely detectable. He beforehand argued the pedestrian crossing was a identified hazard and mentioned video from a close-by residence safety system the evening of the crash will let jurors “see how darkish it was.”
Buzbee mentioned Erickson, 55, lied to sheriff’s investigators concerning the automobile he was driving that evening, noting that he “stopped down the highway and hid within the bushes and watched” as police investigated the crash earlier than going to Grossman’s home, talking along with her daughter after which going residence.
Erickson has denied any wrongdoing within the deadly crash and had a misdemeanor cost towards him dismissed after making a public service announcement concerning the significance of protected driving.
“We’ll emphasize science over emotion,” Buzbee mentioned.
Clad in a navy blue cardigan, white shirt and glasses, Grossman saved her gaze firmly on the jury throughout opening statements. She hugged her son, daughter and husband — Dr. Peter Grossman, director of the Grossman Burn Heart — throughout a break. Peter Grossman has mentioned he and his spouse have been separated on the time of the deadly crash.
“This case is about two households,” Buzbee mentioned. “However nobody from our facet will attempt to decrease the tragedy.”
“Use your braveness and discover Mrs. Grossman not responsible.”