Former Food Network personality found guilty of killing foster daughter, sentenced to life in prison

Ariel Robinson was emotional on the stand while testifying in the trial for the beating death of 3-year-old foster daughter Tori Smith.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 1:27 PM CDT|Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 2:23 PM CDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina/Gray News) - After four days, a former Food Network contestant accused of killing her foster daughter was convicted by a jury and sentenced to life in prison.

Ariel Robinson was found guilty of homicide by child abuse in the death of 3-year-old Victoria “Tori” Rose Smith, according to WHNS.

Robinson, a former contestant on “Worst Cooks in America,” was accused of severely beating the child at their home in Simpsonville, South Carolina, on Jan. 14, 2021.

Authorities first responded to the report of a drowning at the house and found Tori unresponsive, according to Beau Givens with the Simpsonville Fire Department, who testified during the trial.

Bruises were found all over her body as first responders attempted to revive her.

She was taken to the hospital where she later died from internal bleeding.

Givens said Robinson claimed Tori had been continuously drinking water until she went limp. He said she also attributed the bruises to her older brother, stating he had “anger issues” and would hit her.

A paramedic who testified during the trial reported the injuries appeared more consistent with those inflicted by an adult.

During the trial, the jury heard testimonies from several witnesses including first responders who were at the scene, a former assistant pastor from the family’s church, Robinson herself, and her husband, Austin “Jerry” Robinson.

He testified that Robinson had a history of disciplining Tori with a belt or wooden paddle over Tori’s eating habits.

He had pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse a couple of weeks ago.

The jury also reviewed body camera video from police officers who responded to the initial incident as well as photos of Tori’s injuries.

They deliberated for an hour and a half before delivering their conviction.

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