New York Daily News
A one-time winner of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America,” who was accused of murdering her foster daughter inside their South Carolina home, has been found guilty of homicide by child abuse.
Jurors deliberated for just over an hour before returning their verdict Thursday, marking the end of Ariel Robinson’s four-day trial, WYFF reported. She is facing life behind bars.
Robinson and her 35-year-old husband, Jerry “Austin” Robinson in January 2021 were both arrested and charge in connection with the death of 3-year-old Victoria “Tori” Smith, who had been under the couple’s care through a foster program.
Jerry Robinson has pleaded guilty to his role in the death of little Tori, who died from multiple blunt-force injuries. He took the stand during his wife’s trial and placed the bulk of the blame on her.
On the day of the fatal beating, Jerry recalled hearing his wife yell at the child. He said she then started beating her, which he could hear even though he was outside in the back yard. Jerry further claimed he did not know his wife was hitting the child with a belt until he saw them inside.
The abuse lasted for a bout an hour, he said.
Robinson, who also testified, alternatively tried to throw her husband under the bus.
“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.
It’s not clear when Austin, who faces up to 20 years behind bars, will be sentenced.