- The Magazine
A Georgia man who poured boiling water on a gay couple because he objected to their sexuality has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. Martin Blackwell, 48, was found guilty on 10 different charges, including aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
Back in February, Blackwell poured scalding water on Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert while they slept, causing second- and third-degree burns.
“I woke up to the most unimaginable pain in my entire life,” Tolbert said during testimony, according to the AP. “I’m wondering why I’m in so much pain. I’m wondering why I’m wet. I don’t understand what’s going on.”
Blackwell then pulled him from the bed and shouted at him to “Get out of my house with all that gay,” Tolbert told WSBTV.
Both men had to undergo surgeries and skin grafts to repair the damage to their bodies, with Gooden placed in a medically-induced coma for two weeks following the attack. Blackwell had been dating Gooden’s mother, Kim Foster, and expressed disgust over the fact that Gooden and Tolbert were in a same-sex relationship.
The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before proclaiming Blackwell guilty, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
As part of his defense, Blackwell’s attorney, Monique Walker, argued that her client’s actions were “distasteful” and “disrespectful,” but were not intentional or capable of causing death. Walker also argued that Blackwell should only be convicted of battery, rather than the 10 counts for which he was tried.
But Assistant District Attorney Fani Willis argued that Blackwell’s actions were both methodical and malicious, as he had to wait while the water boiled before pouring it on the victims. At any point he could have stopped and not gone through with the action, which Willis insisted was premeditated. Blackwell has also failed to express remorse, which likely convinced prosecutors to seek convictions on all possible charges.
“You don’t have the right to hurt because you don’t like how they live their life,” Willis told the jury. “It is a felony. And it’s a felonious act. And he earned every count in the indictment.”
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