Former Food Network Star Found Guilty of Murdering the Daughter She Was in the Process of Adopting

Ariel Robinson’s foster child, Victoria “Tori” Smith, was just days away from being officially adopted by the reality contestant and her husband when the 3-year-old died from blunt force trauma


Ariel Robinson, a former contestant and winner of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, was found guilty of homicide by child abuse in the beating death of her 3-year-old foster daughter by a Greenville County, South Carolina jury on Thursday.

It took about an hour-and-a-half for the jury to deliberate and reach their final conviction, according to local outlet WYFF.

The verdict ended a four-day trial in which Ariel and her husband, Jerry "Austin" Robinson, testified. Graphic images of the injuries inflicted on Victoria "Tori" Smith were also shown in court.

"In my 13-14 years as a judge, I've never seen anything like this," Judge Letitia Verdin said during Ariel's sentencing, per The Sun News. "Not even approaching it."

Jerry has not yet been sentenced, but pleaded guilty to his role in the death of little Tori in April, and faces a minimum of 10 to 20 years in prison for homicide by child abuse/aiding and abetting, reports FOXCarolina.

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Bill Bouton, an attorney for the Robinsons, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Ariel and her husband were arrested on Jan. 19 last year in connection to the Jan. 14 death of Smith, who died from blunt force injuries, PEOPLE previously reported.

The couple was in the process of adopting the little girl and her brothers and, according to authorities, the hearing to finalize the adoption was scheduled for just days after she was killed, The State previously reported.

Jerry testified during an April hearing that he walked in to find his wife holding a belt and that she allegedly beat the girl because she was frustrated with her, reports WYFF.

"By the time I walked inside, it was as if nothing was going on," he said, according to the Greenville News.

He added that he saw the bruising as his foster daughter was crying.

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"I told her, 'You went too far this time and I should've stopped it,' " he said.

During the hearing, Jerry said the girl had thrown up on herself the previous night on her way to church, angering her mother. Ariel's frustration grew the next morning when Ariel allegedly claimed the girl did not eat her pancakes fast enough, he said.

After that, he said Ariel gave the girl a "whooping" that he could hear from outside of the home.

Jerry later placed the 911 call. Assistant Solicitor Christy Sustakovitch summarized that call in court, saying Jerry reported, "We have an emergency, our daughter is unresponsive. She drank a lot of water. We tried to do CPR to get it out," according to the Greenville News.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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