According to local media, a jury in Greenville, South Carolina found Ariel Robinson, a Food Network contestant accused of killing her foster daughter in their home, guilty of homicide by child abuse on Thursday afternoon.
According to Greenville County documents, Robinson, 30, and her 35-year-old husband, Jerry “Austin” Robinson, were arrested and charged with homicide by child abuse in January 2021 after the death of their 3-year-old foster daughter, Victoria “Tori” Rose Smith. Austin pled guilty to homicide by child abuse last month.
After a four-day trial, the jury pondered for roughly an hour and a half before reaching a decision. Robinson received a life sentence, according to FOX Carolina.
According to a medical assessment, Smith died last year as a result of blunt force injuries, according to the Greenville County Coroner’s Office.
Ariel Robinson testified on Thursday and sobbed when asked what it was like to live with Smith. According to the publication, the “Worst Cooks in America” season 20 winner characterized the 3-year-old as “a perfect child” who was easy to get along with.
Prosecutors claimed the Robinsons beat Smith to death on January 14, 2021, when police discovered the girl motionless in their home. Dr. Michael Ward, a forensic pathologist for Greenville County, said on Wednesday that the toddler was hit with such force that her blood vessels broke, enabling blood to pool in her muscles and fat, perhaps leading to her death, according to FOX Carolina.
“If we lose enough blood, the heart doesn’t have enough volume to pump,” he said.
Austin Robinson earlier told authorities that the deadly beating occurred on Jan. 13, 2021, after Smith vomited on the way to a church service and Ariel became enraged.
On Wednesday, witnesses Jean Smith and Avery Santiago testified that they observed Ariel and an undressed Smith in the church bathroom, where Ariel was attempting to scrub the girl’s dress in a sink. Smith claimed she questioned Ariel whether Smith was unwell, and Ariel allegedly informed her that the child “eats too much and makes herself throw up,” referring to it as a “game.”
Santiago testified that she heard Ariel say to Smith, “‘Oh, you’re cold. You’re cold. Girls that make themselves throw up deserve to be cold,’” according to FOX Carolina.
“I was frustrated,” Ariel said Thursday when asked about the church incident.
According to Deadline, Airel, a former teacher, received $25,000 after winning the Food Network competition, which puts amateur cooks against each other in a series of cooking challenges overseen by celebrity chefs.