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Former 'Worst Cooks in America' winner found guilty in beating death of 3-year-old foster child

INSIDER logo INSIDER 3 days ago ledmonds@businessinsider.com (Lauren Edmonds)
Photos show Ariel Robinson as a contestant on "Worst Cooks In America" season 20. Jason DeCrow for Food Network; Food Network © Jason DeCrow for Food Network; Food Network Photos show Ariel Robinson as a contestant on "Worst Cooks In America" season 20. Jason DeCrow for Food Network; Food Network
  • Ariel Robinson was found guilty in the beating death of three-year-old Victoria Smith, the AP reports. 
  •  Victoria was discovered unresponsive by authorities in January 2021. 
  • Robinson was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday.  

The winner of "Worst Cooks in America" has been found guilty in the 2021 beating death of a three-year-old foster child in her care. 

The Associated Press reported that a jury deliberated for around one hour before finding Ariel Robinson, 30, guilty in a unanimous verdict on Thursday. Robinson, of Simpsonville, South Carolina, was sentenced to life in prison after being charged with homicide by child abuse. 

"In my 13-14 years as a judge, I've never seen anything like this," Judge Letitia Verdin said in court, according to the AP. "Not even approaching it."

"Praise God," said Vickie Phares, the young girl's biological great-grandmother in response to the verdict, according to the AP. "Justice was served for our baby," she continued after the emotional reading.

The young girl, Victoria "Tori" Smith, was living with Robinson and her husband, Jerry Robinson, when she died on January 14, 2021, according to the outlet. The AP reported that the couple had custody of Tori and her older biological brothers for 10 months. They were set to adopt the children the week after Victoria died.

According to the AP, the child died in Robinson's home after being hit in the legs and abdomen because she did not eat her pancakes fast enough. Victoria died from blunt force injuries and internal bleeding, according to officials who spoke with the outlet. Robinson and her husband, Jerry Robinson, were both charged with homicide by child abuse on January 19. 

Jerry testified that his wife beat the girl with a belt, AP reported. He pleaded guilty to aiding abetting homicide by child abuse last month. He faces up to 20 years in prison, but a sentencing date has not yet been scheduled, according to the outlet. 

Robinson appeared on Food Network's "Worst Cooks in America" and won season 20. 

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