A Georgia man, Martin Blackwell, 48, has been found guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault.
The victims, Marquez Tolbert, 21, and Anthony Gooden, 24, the son of Blackwell’s girlfriend, were left with severe burns that required surgery.
The jury at the Fulton County Superior Court deliberated for about 90 minutes, and sentenced Blackwell to 40 years behind bars.
Blackwell, a truck driver, committed the crime on February 12 at his girlfriend’s house in College Park where he stays when he was in town.
Tolbert and Gooden were sleeping at the apartment after working an overnight shift at a warehouse when Blackwell boiled a pot of water and poured it over the men as they slept in the living room.
“They were stuck together like two hot dogs … so I poured a little hot water on them and help them out,” Blackwell said to police, according to the Washington Post. “They’ll be alright. It was just a little hot water”.
According to Blackwell’s lawyer, he did it because he felt their behavior was disrespectful and that he often made inappropriate comments to members of the household – asking about their sex lives or using derogatory names.
Prosecutors said it was a vicious, premeditated attack. Tolbert testified that after pouring hot water on them, Blackwell grabbed him as he jumped and screamed in pain and told him: “Get out of my house with all that gay.”
“We’re not going back to when you get to treat people differently because of who they are,” prosecutor Fani Willis said.
The judge, Henry Newkirk noted that it “takes a long time” for a pot of water to boil. “You were soulless, malicious and a violent person on February 12,” he said to Blackwell. “You had so many outs, you had so many outs where the voice of reason could’ve taken over,” he said before handing over the 40-year sentence.
Following the incident, Tolbert must now wear compression garments 23 hours a day for the next two years. Gooden, who had 60% of his body burned, was in a medically induced coma for several weeks. He had to undergo skin graft surgery to repair damage to his face, neck, back, arms, chest and head.
Photo Credit: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office