A Greenville, South Carolina jury found that Ariel Robinson, a Food Network contestant accused of murdering her foster daughter in her home, pleaded guilty to murder by child abuse on Thursday afternoon, according to local reports.
Robinson, 30, and her husband, Jerry “Austin” Robinson, 35, were arrested and charged with murder in January 2021 by child abuse following the death of their 3-year-old foster daughter, Victoria “Tory” Rose Smith. , Greenville County records show. Austin pleaded guilty last month to aiding in child abuse and abetting the murder.
The jury deliberated for about an hour and a half before delivering its verdict after a four-day trial. Fox Carolina reported that Robinson was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Greenville County coroner’s office said last year Smith died as a result of blunt force injuries, according to a medical test.
Ariel Robinson took the witness stand on Thursday and was torn when asked what it was like to be with Smith. According to the outlet, the winner of “Worst Cooks in America” Season 20 described the 3-year-old as “a perfect kid” who was easy to get along with.
Prosecutors argued that Robinson fatally beat Smith on January 14, 2021, after police found the girl unresponsive in their home. Greenville County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Ward, a forensic pathologist, testified Wednesday that the girl was beaten with such force that her blood vessels burst, causing blood to pool in her muscles and fat, causing her death could, Fox Carolina reported.
“If we lose enough blood, the heart doesn’t have enough volume to pump,” he said.
Austin Robinson had previously told officers that the fatal beatings had taken place since January 13, 2021, when he said that Smith was en route to a church service, and that Ariel was angry at the child.
Witnesses Jean Smith and Avery Santiago testified Wednesday that they saw Ariel and a clothed Smith in the church bathroom as Ariel tried to clean the girl’s dress in the sink. Smith said she asked Ariel if Smith was sick, and Ariel apparently told her that the child “eats too much and throws himself up,” calling it “a game.”
Santiago testified that he heard Ariel say to Smith, “Oh, you’re cold. You’re cold. According to Fox Carolina, girls who throw themselves up deserve to be cold.”
When asked about the church incident, Ariel said on Thursday, “I was disappointed.”
Austin, who took the witness stand Tuesday, testified that Ariel would be annoyed by Smith’s eating habits and would be beaten with a belt or wooden paddle.
As Fox Carolina reports, the 35-year-old testified, “Sometimes I take a piece of (her) food to help me out.”
Ariel, a former teacher, won $25,000 on winning a Food Network contest that pits amateur chefs against each other in a series of cooking challenges overseen by celebrity chefs, deadline informed of.
Episodes from her season are no longer available to stream on Food Network’s online platforms, which include Discovery+, Hulu, and YouTube.
A petition on Change.org with nearly 46,000 signatures called on South Carolina lawmakers to pass a bill called Victoria’s Law that would “replace the current screening process for not only becoming an adoptive parent but also a foster parent.” Will improve as a father too.”
“We want that there should be continuous non-scheduled home visits for the foster and adoptive parents and even after the adoption is finalized,” the plea’s description said. We Want Guardian Ad Litem and Case Workers [sic] To talk privately with the children in these homes so that they have the opportunity to ask for help when they need it. ,
In a Twitter thread posted on January 6, Robinson said that while her black and white children were treated the same in their home, “it wouldn’t happen” when they went out into the real world.
“It’s a shame that as a proud mother to 4 beautiful boys, I can’t save them from the reality and evil of this world once they leave home. However, I will fight and use my voice to make a difference . To create awareness and bring about change so that one day that change will come,” she continued. “I am a mama bear, and I will do anything to protect my children and make sure their future is equally bright [because] They have equal opportunities and are treated as God has made them. There should be no #whiteprivilege only US privilege. #Equality for All #BlackLivesMatte[r],