Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.
A South Carolina woman who won season 20 of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” beat her 3-year-old foster daughter to death because the child did not eat her food fast enough, the woman’s husband said at his trial.
Jerry Robinson pleaded guilty to homicide by child abuse/aiding and abetting in connection to the death of Victoria Rose Smith in January 2021, according to the Greenville News. The girl had been a foster child the family was planning to adopt, but she died five days before that was to take place.
Robinson said he never beat the girl, but Food Network winner Ariel Robinson, his wife, beat the girl while he let it happen.
The Food Network “Worst Cooks In America” winner Ariel Robinson is gearing up for her murder trial in the death of a three-year-old foster child in her care https://t.co/6fUoe7Awjm
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) April 23, 2022
During a hearing, Assistant Solicitor Christy Sustakovitch said Jerry Robinson voluntarily met with officials.
“She would spank and beat her,” Sustakovitch quoted him as saying.
Ariel Robinson also became angry over Victoria’s eating habits, her husband told investigators, according to the prosecutor.
Jerry Robinson explained the fatal incident began when the 3-year-old did not eat her pancakes at the speed Ariel Robinson wanted, Sustakovitch said.
The husband heard the sounds of the girl being beaten by his wife, Sustakovitch said, and he heard the little girl screaming.
Ariel Robinson told the girl, “You’re not done. You don’t get to tell me when you’re done,” Sustakovitch said the husband told them.
“By the time I walked inside, it was as if nothing was going on,” Jerry Robinson said during the hearing, saying he saw bruises on the crying girl and his wife holding a belt.
“I told her you went too far this time, and I should’ve stopped it,” Jerry Robinson said at the hearing.
Please don’t forget this little girl. Please don’t forget Ariel Robinson with she’s eating her breakfast too slow in prison. https://t.co/uRJR2Xs8YK
— Rebel♥Angel (@SpankedAngel) April 21, 2022
Sustakovitch said Ariel Robinson told initial responders the girl was drinking too much water and had thrown up the night before after eating pizza.
Ariel Robinson blamed bruising on the girl on her efforts to revive her and on the family’s 7-year-old.
Jerry Robinson, however, said the 7-year-old did not cause the bruising.
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 2, 2022, according to the Greenville News.
Robinson addressed the judge and Victoria’s biological family during his sentencing hearing, saying he loved the 3-year-old and regretted his actions.
“To Tori’s family, I am truly sorry for all of this. I hope that one day you all can forgive me,” he said.
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