Type keyword(s) to search


Former Food Network Winner Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing 3-Year-Old Foster Child

Worst Cooks in America champion Ariel Robinson was convicted by a South Carolina jury on Thursday.
  • Ariel Robinson (Photo: FOX Carolina/YouTube)
    Ariel Robinson (Photo: FOX Carolina/YouTube)

    Ariel Robinson, former Food Network contestant and winner of Worst Cooks in America Season 20, has been found guilty of killing her three-year-old foster child Victoria "Tori" Smith. Robinson, 30, was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday.

    A jury in Greenville County, South Carolina found Robinson guilty of homicide by child abuse after a four-day trial. Local NBC affiliate WYFF reported that the jury convicted Robinson after less than an hour-and-a-half of deliberation.

    "I think medical testimony in this case was incredibly heartbreaking," Judge Letitia Verdin said during sentencing, according to WYFF. "In my 13, 14 years as a judge, I've never seen anything like this, not even approaching it."

    Last month, Robinson's husband, Jerry "Austin" Robinson pled guilty to aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse. He is currently awaiting sentencing for the crime, which carries between 10 and 20 years in prison.

    Robinson was arrested in January 2021, after police in Simpsonville, South Carolina received a call about an unresponsive child. The local coroner determined the cause of death to be multiple blunt force injuries. During a hearing in April, Robinson's husband accused his wife of "beating Tori to death" out of frustration, adding she went "too far this time."

    According to WYFF, Robinson appeared to blame her husband as she took the stand for her own defense, just hours before the verdict was announced. She told the jury that Jerry has the "scariest types of anger issues." Prosecutors disputed her claim, arguing that the evidence shows that Ariel Robinson, not her husband, beat Smith.

    Robinson won Season 20 of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, which aired in 2020. After she was arrested in 2021, the network removed the entire season from its various digital platforms.

    Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.

    TOPICS: Ariel Robinson, Food Network, Worst Cooks in America