Ariel Robinson, former Food Network contestant America’s worst cooks was found guilty by a Greenville County, South Carolina jury on May 12 of killing her adopted daughter in their home.
Greenville County records show the 30-year-old adoptive mother and her husband, Jerry “Austin” Robinson, were charged with child abuse homicide in January 2021 for beating their 3-year-old daughter, Victoria “Tori “Rose Smith, to death. The 35-year-old has agreed to plead guilty to aiding and abetting a child abuse homicide last month.
After a four-day trial, the jury thought for about an hour and a half before deciding. Robinson was sentenced to life in prison, according to Fox News.
According to a medical evaluation, Smith died in 2021 from blunt force injuries, reported by the Greenville County Coroner’s Office.
On May 12, Ariel Robinson entered the witness box and sobbed when asked what it was like to live with Smith. According to the publication, the America’s worst cooks The Season 20 winner called the 3-year-old the “perfect kid” who was easy to get along with.
Prosecutors said the Robinsons killed Smith on January 14, 2021, when police discovered the girl motionless in their home.
Greenville County Medical Examiner Dr Michael Ward testified on May 12 that the toddler was hit with such force that his blood vessels ruptured, allowing blood to pool in his muscles and fat , resulting in his death. He said:
“If we lose enough blood, the heart doesn’t have enough volume to pump.”
Ariel Robinson’s husband revealed how she treated the now deceased child
Austin Robinson earlier told investigators the fatal beating took place on January 13, 2021, after Smith vomited on the way to a church service and Ariel became enraged.
On May 12, witnesses Jean Smith and Avery Santiago said they observed Ariel and an undressed Smith in the church restroom, where Ariel attempted to scrub the girl’s clothes into a sink.
Jean claimed she asked Ariel if Smith was unwell, and Ariel reportedly informed her that the youngster is “eating too much and making himself throw up”, calling it a “game”.
Santiago testified that she heard Ariel say to Smith:
“‘Oh, you’re cold. You’re cold. Girls who make themselves vomit deserve to be cold.'”
When Ariel Robinson was asked about the church incident while on the stand on May 12, she said she was “frustrated”.
Austin, who testified May 10, said Ariel would become enraged at Smith’s eating habits and hit her with belts or a wooden paddle. He said:
“Sometimes I would take a piece of (his) food just to help him out.”
Ariel Robinson won Season 20 of Food Network’s America’s worst cooks, winning a cash prize of $25,000. She was a former college teacher and a local comedian.
When news of his arrest spread, the network removed all episodes of his competition from its platforms.