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Mother of two murdered boys appeals to District Attorney to reverse decision to remove their killer's prosecutors

Nancy Iskander's sons Mark and Jacob were killed by Rebecca Grossman as they used a marked crosswalk
Caroline Feraday
Nancy Iskander's sons Mark and Jacob were killed by Rebecca Grossman as they used a marked crosswalk

It was a six-week trial which resulted in the conviction of Westlake Village socialite Rebecca Grossman for the murder of two young boys. Their mother is distressed by the abrupt removal of the prosecutors in the case before Grossman is sentenced.

They were Nancy Iskander’s heroes. Deputy District Attorney Ryan Gould and his colleague Jamie Castro, praised by her for their pursuit of the truth in the grueling murder trial of Rebecca Grossman after she was found guilty earlier this year. The Westlake Village socialite was speeding and killed two of Iskander's sons, Mark and Jacob as they used a marked crosswalk in September 2020. But now, Nancy says she’s been prevented from even talking to them, ahead of Grossman’s sentencing next month, after they were abruptly removed from the case.

"I think when you lose two kids and when you bury your child, there's little anyone can do to help you, really. There's nothing," Iskander told KCLU in an exclusive interview on Monday.

"So to have someone who cares about the truth so much, be by your side to support, to say, 'We will get justice for them. I will work hard,' and they do work hard for you, it means a lot," she said of Gould.

"He's [Gould] been with us since day one. He knows the case. He knows Mark and Jacob. He knows who I am as a person. He knows how she [Grossman] likes to play games. He knows how she likes to hire people to obstruct justice," said Iskander.

Mark and Jacob Iskander were hit and killed by a speeding motorist as they crossed on a marked crosswalk in Westlake Village in September 2020
Nancy Iskander
Mark and Jacob Iskander were hit and killed by a speeding motorist as they crossed on a marked crosswalk in Westlake Village in September 2020

Iskander says she was not given a reason for the removal.

"I was not given any reason. I was told you cannot talk to him. But I feel that the system is a little bit allowing Rebecca Grossman to play her games."

The prosecutors, Gould and Castro, had been set to file a motion with the court alleging a potential conflict of interest involving Grossman's new attorney, James Spurman, who also represents Diane Teran, a former superior of theirs who is facing felony charges filed by California Attorney General Rob Bonta for accessing confidential sheriff's records.

"The prosecution is not the issue. So firing them and putting a different team on the case while Mrs. Grossman is still using that attorney who was representing Diane Teran in her charges - removing the prosecution - does not solve that conflict of interest," said Iskander.

"We're just so disappointed and confused because Ryan did nothing wrong. No one told us that Ryan did anything wrong. Neither did Jamie. It's all because of Rebecca Grossman's games of hiring an attorney who has a conflict of interest with someone in the DA's office," she said.

Nancy says the removal of Gould and Castro so close to the final step of sentencing feels like a punishment, and says she only hopes that the Los Angeles District Attorney, George Gascon, will reverse the decision to remove the prosecutors who know the case and fought for justice and allow them to finish the job.

"Mark and Jacob did nothing wrong. They were kids crossing at a crosswalk with their parents. These could be anyone's children. Disrupting that justice for kids - truly innocent kids - what does that mean?" she said.

"We're asking to please reverse this decision and bring us back the prosecutors we know, so we're able to complete the sentencing step and get it done. Why am I being punished for something I have nothing to do with? I don't understand, and it's just it was our last step," said Iskander.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Joseph Iniguez responded to KCLU's request for comment, saying the matter was "reassigned" to the assistant head deputy of the elite Major Crimes Division because of a "perceived internal conflict", and said that the decision was made with the "utmost consideration for the victims and their family."

For now, Grossman remains in custody awaiting sentencing. She's facing a maximum of 34 years to life for the crash, which killed Mark and Jacob, who were just 11 and eight years old at the time. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 10th.

At the end of the day on Monday, Iniguez confirmed that trial attorneys Gould and Castro would not be removed. Castro and Gould would remain on the case and assist the Assistant Head Deputy of the elite Major Crimes Division, Habib Balian.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 5 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.
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