A Greenville, South Carolina jury found former Food Network star Ariel Robinson guilty on Thursday of killing her 3-year-old foster daughter. The verdict came after just 90 minutes of deliberations, South Carolina TV station WYFF reported.
Shortly after the guilty verdict, Robinson was sentenced to life in prison. Judge Letitia H. Verdin told Robinson, “I can say that in my 13, 14 years of being a judge, I’ve never seen anything like this. Not even approaching it.”
The reality star’s husband, Austin Robinson, pleaded guilty last month to aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse, but he has not yet been sentenced.
Prosecutors said the Robinsons beat little Victoria “Tori” Smith to death in January 2021.
According to Fox Carolina, Greenville County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Ward testified that the toddler was beaten so badly that her blood vessels burst and blood collected in her muscles and fat. “If we lose enough blood, the heart doesn’t have enough volume to pump,” Ward said.
The jury was shown graphic pictures of the toddler’s injuries, with Ward telling the court the damage sustained went beyond “traditional bruise.” He testified, “This is a severe, deep injury that is tearing tissue from tissue.”
Body camera footage from first responders showed Tori lying unresponsive on her bedroom floor. She later died of her injuries. In the footage, Ariel claims the girl’s older brother was the one who beat her.
Dr. Christina Goben, a pediatric intensive care doctor, also testified to the horrific scope of the beating, saying, “This is extensive, dependent on a child’s body that was inflicted repetitively by blunt force trauma, which is the worst I’ve seen.”
The trial lasted four days and the prosecution rested its case Wednesday.
Ariel Robinson won Season 20 of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America,” which aired in 2010. After her arrest, all episodes of her season were pulled by the network from all platforms.