Martin Blackwell, the Georgia man responsible for pouring boiling water over a sleeping gay couple, was given a 40-year prison sentence on Wednesday, August 24.
According to the Washington Post, the jury spent approximately 90 minutes deliberating before finding Blackwell guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault. He was then sentenced to 40 years in prison.
— Gays and liberal way (@Gaysandliberalw) August 25, 2016
The incident took place in February at an Alexandria Landing apartment in College Park. Anthony Gooden, 23, had recently revealed to his family that he was gay, and was sleeping on a mattress next to his boyfriend Marquez Tolbert, 21, after a long day of work when they were attacked by Blackwell, who was Gooden’s mother’s boyfriend at the time (although Blackwell didn’t live in the apartment, he frequently stayed there when he was passing through).
When Blackwell entered the apartment and saw the two men sleeping together, he went to the kitchen, filled a pot with water, and then set it to boil. Moments later, he went back to the living room and poured the scalding water over Gooden and Tolbert.
“We woke up to boiling hot water,” Tolbert told Project Q Atlanta in March. “I started screaming uncontrollably and I was pulled out of the house. We ran to the neighbors and called the police.”
He added, “We were just burning. My body was just stinging. It was like a really, really severe kind of stinging. I could hardly think straight. Martin pulled me up and said, ‘Get out of my house with all that gay.’ I couldn’t stop screaming.”
Blackwell claimed the two men were having sex when he poured the water over them, and he was disgusted with their relationship. However, Tolbert’s friend Vickie Gray said they both were simply sleeping at the time of the attack.
Martin Blackwell of Georgia on Wednesday was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment after he poured boiling water on… https://t.co/NdL4WIsicm
— NoChill (@NoChillMonitor) August 25, 2016
“They was stuck together like two hot dogs, so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out,” Blackwell told the investigators. “They was stuck like two hot dogs. They’ll be alright, it was just a little hot water.”
Both men were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital to receive treatment for their extensive burns. Tolbert spent 10 days in the hospital undergoing surgery to repair the skin on his back, while Gooden spent five weeks in the hospital receiving treatment, with several of those weeks being in a medically-induced coma.
More than 60 percent of Gooden’s body was burned, and he had to undergo skin graft surgery to repair damage to his face, neck, back, arms, chest, and head. Tolbert must now wear compression garments 23 hours a day for the next two years, and he is also attending weekly counseling and physical therapy sessions to help him cope with his emotional and physical scars. Vickie Gray later set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Marquez’s recovery. Since the page was started five months ago, it has raised nearly $72,000.
— Towleroad (@tlrd) August 24, 2016
Because Georgia is one of five states that do not have hate crime statutes, Blackwell, a 48-year-old truck driver, was not charged with a hate crime.
In March, FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett told Reuters that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Atlanta office “has initiated a federal civil rights-based investigation to determine whether the federal hate crime statute will apply.”
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[Photo by John Bazemore/AP Images]