The South Carolina husband of the Season 20 winner of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” has pleaded guilty for his role in the death of his 3-year-old adopted daughter, Victoria “Tori” Smith.
Jerry Robinson pleaded guilty to homicide by child abuse/aiding, along with abetting homicide by child abuse Thursday in Greenville. He was previously sentenced to house arrest while awaiting his hearing. NBC 10 reports that he’ll remain on house arrest until his wife, Ariel Robinson’s trial.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, police found Victoria unresponsive at the couple’s Simpsonville home off of Sellwood Circle in December 2020. The child later passed away at the Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital.
An autopsy report indicated that Victoria died from multiple injuries caused by blunt force trauma. She had deep purple bruising on her abdomen, face abrasions, bruising on her back and ears, and bruising down both legs.
Ariel claimed that Victoria vomited the night prior but had no other observable issues. Last year, Assistant Solicitor Christy Kednocker Sustakovitch spoke for the state and told the court details of what Ariel claimed happened. The details were presented in court at Jerry Robinson’s hearing.
On the day in question, Ariel claimed that Victoria ate pancakes, drank a lot of water, then complained of stomach pain and being cold. Ariel said she got the child a heated blanket, but Victoria “went limp.”
Ariel said she then performed the Heimlich maneuver on the child while her husband called 911.
First responders and doctors noted “extensive bruising’ on Victoria. Ariel reportedly said the bruises came from her doing CPR on the child, as directed by the 911 dispatcher.
When investigators pushed Ariel to explain the bruising more, she allegedly said that her minor son had “anger issues” and causes the bruising on Victoria.
Investigators went to the boy’s school and met with staff members who described him as a “happy, smaller child with no outward signs of physical abuse toward anyone.”
During a two-hour interview with investigators shortly after Victoria’s death, Jerry Robinson claimed that he had never harmed Victoria, although he admitted that his wife would “spank, beat [Victoria] with different things, including a belt, paddle, flip flop or whatever.”
Robinson also said that Ariel hit Victoria with a belt on the day the child passed away. He said he heard the belt hit from outside, then went inside and told his wife, “You went too far.”
Jerry said they put Victoria in an Epsom salt bath while he then went to the store to buy medication. Prosecutors, according to Fox Carolina, confirmed that they obtained a store security video that showed Jerry Robinson purchasing the medicine.
Ariel remains jailed without bond at the Greenville County Detention Center. A trial date has been set for May 9. Meanwhile, her husband faces a minimum of 10 to 20 years in prison.
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[Feature Photo: Victoria Smith and Ariel Robinson/Facebook]