Ariel RobinsonHe is most well-known for winning season 20 of America’s Worst Chefs, has been sentenced to life in prison in relation to the death of her 3-year-old foster child, Victoria “Tori” Smith.
A jury in Greenville County found the former Food Network star guilty Thursday, May 12, of homicide by child abusing. According to NBC outlet WYFF, the jury deliberated for less that an hour before returning their verdict after a four-day trial. Robinson’s husband, Jerry “Austin” RobinsonHe pled guilty last month to aiding and abeting homicide by child cruelty and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Us Weekly has reached out to Ariel’s lawyer and Food Network for comment.
“We just want to thank everyone, from the police to first responders, the nurses, the doctors, [the solicitor] and her team, the jury, everyone, thank you guys so much,” Michelle UrpsSmith’s family spokesperson, Jeremy Smith said after the verdict.
At a hearing in April Jerry claimed that Smith was killed by his wife with a belt. He testified that he saw Ariel wearing a belt. Prosecutors claimed that he was also the one who called 911 when their foster son was not responding.
According to authorities, Ariel originally stated claimed that Smith’s brother had “anger issues” and that he was the one who beat her. During her trial, however, the former TV contestant claimed that her husband was to blame for Smith’s death. “I think Austin has one of the scariest types of anger issues because he holds everything in and he doesn’t let it out and when it does come out, it’s too much because he bottles it up,” she said on the stand.
Prosecutors said that evidence showed that Ariel was the one who beat Ariel.
“I think medical testimony in this case was incredibly heartbreaking,” Judge Letitia Verdin said during Ariel’s sentencing, per WYFF. “In my 13, 14 years as a judge, I’ve never seen anything like this, not even approaching it.”
According to FOX Carolina, a 911 call was made by Simpsonville police about a child who wasn’t responding in January 2021. The child was taken to a hospital and declared dead. A local coroner confirmed her identity later. Her death was attributed to internal bleeding from multiple blunt force injuries.
Ariel and Jerry were both taken into custody and charged with homicide and child abuse in the days following her death. Food Network later pulled all her remains. America’s Worst ChefsAll streaming platforms offer episodes.
“When [Tori] entered a room, all eyes were on her, because she demanded it and she was a cutie,” Tiffany Huggins, one of Smith’s former foster parents, told WYFF in January 2021. “She had the best personality and I’m not just saying that cause I was her momma, but she was just our light. She was a beautiful child, inside and out.”