American socialite Rebecca Grossman has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the hit-and-run deaths of two boys in California, brothers Mark and Jacob Iskander.

Mark, 11, and Jacob, 8, were killed on Sept. 29, 2020, when they were struck by Grossman’s speeding vehicle while crossing the street with their family in Westlake Village, Calif.

Grossman, 60, was sentenced with the possibility of parole on Monday.

In a press release, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said the young brothers lost their lives because of Grossman’s “reckless actions.”

Gascón had sought a sentence of 34 years to life for Grossman. Prosecutors argued she showed a “complete lack of remorse” for the deaths.

“While we respect the judicial process, we are deeply disappointed with the outcome of today’s sentencing,” he said of the lesser sentence. “The loss of these two innocent lives has devastated their family and our community. Ms. Grossman’s blatant disregard for human life is a stark reminder of the grave consequences of irresponsible behaviour behind the wheel.”

A yellow sign with a photo of two boys in swimsuits. Their arms are around one another. One boy wears a yellow tee, the other does not wear one at all. The sign in black marker reads, "Justice for Mark and Jacob."

A sign outside of Van Nuys Courthouse shows an image of Mark Iskander, 11, and his brother Jacob Iskander, eight.

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Grossman was convicted in February.

A jury found her guilty of two felony counts of second-degree murder and two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, as well as one felony count of hit-and-run driving resulting in death.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world
sent to your email, as it happens.

She was ordered to pay US$47,161.89 (about C$65,021) to the victims.

Grossman, a wealthy philanthropist, is married to Dr. Peter H. Grossman, whose father founded the Grossman Burn Center. Grossman herself co-founded the Grossman Burn Foundation, an organization that provides comprehensive treatment, care and support to burn survivors and their families.

Rebecca Grossman’s fatal hit-and-run

Before the collision, Grossman had been speeding in her white Mercedes-Benz SUV, which was following the car of former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Scott Erickson.

During the trial, the court heard Grossman and Erickson were allegedly having an affair. (Erickson was not charged in connection with the hit-and-run.)

According to NBC Los Angeles, Grossman has maintained that she did not see the boys in the marked crosswalk. She apologized to the Iskander family during her sentencing, and she wept as brief victim impact statements were read aloud in the courtroom.

Grossman said she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was not racing at the time of the fatal collision. The Los Angeles Times reported that evidence presented during the trial asserted Grossman had consumed at least two margaritas and had Valium in her system when she was following Erickson.

Prosecutors said Grossman was driving at speeds of up to 81 mph (about 130 km/h) in a zone with a speed limit of 45 mph (nearly 72 km/h).

She fled the scene of the crash, which triggered her airbags.

Her lawyers called the hit-and-run an accident. They argued it was Erikson’s car that hit the brothers, though the prosecution called this claim a “ridiculous theory.”

Grossman has blamed the boys for their own deaths and claimed the brothers were outside of the crosswalk, though no evidence was provided to prove this. She also said the boy’s mother should not have been walking her children at dusk.

According to the LA Times, prosecutors also accused Grossman of witness tampering, namely through her daughter Alexis, who testified that Erickson threatened her family.

Prior to the sentencing, Grossman submitted a letter to the judge asking for leniency.

“I am not a murderer, and I ask you to recognize that true fact,” the letter read, as reported by NBC. “My pain, my recognition of the pain the Iskanders suffer, and the pain I watch my family endure, are punishments that I already suffer and will for the rest of my life. Please consider this suffering when you consider what more punishment to impose on me in this case.”

“From the very beginning, the facts have been distorted and misrepresented, turning the tragic accident into murder and me into a cold-blooded killer,” Grossman argued in the letter. “The voices demanding vengeance and retribution are reacting to the tragic loss of Mark and Jacob, but they do not fairly describe me or who I am.”

She continued, writing, “As God is my witness, I did not see anyone or anything in the road. I swear to you, I would have driven my car into a tree to avoid hitting two little boys.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Chief Allen Castellano said the authorities sent “thoughts and prayers” to the grieving Iskander family.

“We hope this justice brings them some measure of comfort,” Castellano said. “This individual showed a complete disregard for the lives and safety of others in our community through her reckless actions, which ultimately shattered a family and robbed two children of their bright futures.”

Grossman will be eligible for parole in about nine years.