On Wednesday, a Greenville County jury in South Carolina found a former winner of “Worst Cooks in America” guilty of homicide, in connection with the death of her young foster child.
Ariel Robinson, 30, was found guilty of homicide by child abuse after she brutally beat 3-year-old Victoria “Tori” Smith, a child she had planned to adopt. The jury reached a decision after Robison took the stand in her own defense and shed tears while calling Tori the “perfect child” and “real easy to get along with.”
Robinson was sentenced to life in prison by the presiding judge.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ariel was charged with homicide by child abuse in January 2021 after Tori’s death. Robinson’s husband, 35-year-old Jerry “Austin” Robinson, pleaded guilty in April to a charge of aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse.
Investigators believe that the child died from blunt force trauma. Prosecutors allege that the couple beat the 3-year-old girl with so much force that her blood vessels burst.
“If we lose enough blood, the heart doesn’t have enough volume to pump,” Greenville County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Ward testified, according to NBC 4.
The child was found unresponsive at the couple’s home on January 14, 2021. Austin reportedly told police that the beating was triggered by an incident a day earlier when the girl vomited on the way to church.
Ariel became angry and took the child into a church bathroom to clean her dress. A witness testified that she asked Ariel whether Tori was sick, and Ariel replied that the girl plays a “game” in which she “eats too much and makes herself throw up.”
The witness testified what she heard Ariel say to the child: “I heard Ariel say, ‘Oh, you’re cold? You’re cold? Girls who make themselves throw up deserve to be cold,’” the witness said. “I remember thinking, I wonder why she’s talking to her in that kind of tone.”
Austin also testified that his wife would grow angry with the girl’s eating behavior and beat her with a wooden paddle and belts.
“Sometimes I’d take a piece of (her) food just to help her out,” Austin testified, according to WHNS-TV.
Ariel, a former teacher, won $25,000 on the “Worst Cooks in America” season 20, a show that challenges amateur cooks against each other.
The story is developing. Check back for updates.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to a previous episode on the case below.
[Feature Photo: Victoria Smith and Ariel Robinson/Facebook]