A former winner of a cooking reality TV show has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her adopted 3-year-old daughter.
Ariel Robinson30, was found guilty Thursday by a South Carolina jury of child abuse homicide in the death of Victoria Rose Smith3.
Victoria died on January 14, 2021 from blunt force injuries and internal bleeding.
Robinson’s husband, jerry robinsonwho also goes by the name Austin, was the person who called 911. He was also charged in Victoria’s death and pleaded guilty to child abuse homicide in April.
He has not yet been sentenced, according to The Greenville News.
According to courtroom video from local NBC affiliate WYFF, Ariel Robinson appeared unresponsive as the verdict was read on Thursday.
“On the charge of homicide by child abuse, we the jury unanimously find the defendant guilty of homicide by child abuse,” the verdict reads.
Robinson’s lawyer, bill button, asked that each member of the jury be questioned to confirm the verdict. When this happened, Robinson appeared to purse his lips slightly, but showed no other emotion.
Judge Letitia H.Verdin handed down the life sentence to Robinson after the guilty verdict was read.
“I can say that in my 13 or 14 years as a judge, I have never seen anything like it,” Verdin said. “I’ve never seen anything like it, not even come close.”
According to Greenville News report, surveillance video showed Victoria alive on January 13, the day before she died, at the church wearing nothing but her underwear as she left the building.
At trial, Robinson said they were running about 15 minutes late to the Life Restoration Center and rushing to get Victoria in. She said the reason Victoria was undressed was because she was eating a snack in the car on the way to church and threw up when they entered the building.
Members of Victoria’s biological family did not believe this explanation.
“[Ariel] could have wrapped that baby in a coat,” Vickie Headlightsa member of Victoria’s family, said after the verdict, according to the Greenville News. “Seeing [Ariel] yank [Victoria] through the door pretty much undid me.
Robinson reportedly testified that it was his idea to adopt Victoria and her two siblings, adding that Victoria had no behavioral issues.
“She was my mini-me,” Robinson said when speaking up in her own defense. “She used to talk like me, act like me. She wanted to be everywhere I went.
As Law & Crime previously reported, Robinson won the 20th season of the Food Network show America’s worst cookswhich aired in February 2020. The Food Network has since shot this season traffic.
Robinson apparently adopted Victoria and her two siblings after winning the $25,000 prize on the Food Network show. She had previously been a middle school teacher, but the South Carolina State Board of Education suspended his teaching license after his arrest.
[Image via screengrab/WYFF)
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