Man gets 40 years for throwing boiling water on girlfriend’s gay son and his partner

A Georgia man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for throwing scalding water on a gay couple sleeping in an apartment, leaving them with severe burns requiring surgery.

Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes on Wednesday before finding Martin Blackwell, 48, guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault in the February attack on Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk said the evidence was overwhelming and that Blackwell had behaved in a soulless and malicious way.

He noted that it ‘takes a long time’ for a pot of water to boil.

Martin Blackwell, 48, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for throwing scalding water on a gay couple sleeping in an apartment, leaving them with severe burns requiring surgery

Burn victim Anthony Gooden gets help with his injured hand in court during the trial

Victim Marquez Tolbert cries as he describes the pain he endured while testifying in court on Tuesday

‘You had so many outs where the voice of reason could have taken over,’ the judge told Blackwell, who had faced up to 80 years in prison.

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.’

Georgia does not have a hate crime law.

The FBI said in March that it had opened a hate crime investigation, but spokesman Kevin Rowson said on Wednesday that the agency is not commenting on that probe.

Blackwell’s defense attorney acknowledged that he poured water on the pair, but asked jurors to find that it was reckless conduct.

Martin was found guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault in the February attack   Blackwell pictured in court on Wednesday

Gooden watches during  Blackwell's trial on Wednesday in Atlanta. Prosecutors called the attack vicious and premeditated

A lawyer holds a pot they say Blackwell used to pour boiling water on his girlfriend's gay son and his friend during court on Tuesday

‘It’s not about hate. It’s about old-school culture, old-school thinking,’ Monique Walker told the jury.

The defense did not call any witnesses and did not present any evidence.

Blackwell, who remained stoic throughout the trial, did not take the stand, and he showed no reaction when the verdict was read.

He was a long-distance truck driver and lived with his girlfriend, Kim Foster, at her sister’s apartment in College Park when he was in town.

Gooden, who is Foster’s son, and Tolbert had been dating about a month and were sleeping at the apartment on February 12 after working an overnight shift when Blackwell dumped scalding water on them.

Blackwell’s attorney said her client felt the young men’s behavior was disrespectful and that there were certain things people sharing a house should not do.

Gooden (pictured after the attack) suffered burns so severe he had to be placed in a medically-induced coma for two weeks

Gooden is the son of Blackwell's then girlfriend. He and Tolbert (pictured together) had been dating about a month at the time of the vicious incident

Prosecutor Fani Willis scoffed at the idea.

‘We’re not going back to when you get to treat people differently because of who they are,’ she said in closing arguments.

Walker said Blackwell often made inappropriate comments to various members of the household — asking about their sex lives and calling them derogatory names — and throwing water on the pair was just an extension of that reckless behavior.

He did not intend to hurt the young men, he just wanted to get them to stop their disrespectful behavior, she said.

The prosecutor said Blackwell’s actions were well thought out.

He took the time to select the biggest pot in the house, filled it with water and waited for it to boil.

That gave him plenty of time to think about what he was doing and the consequences, Willis said.

The judge said the evidence was overwhelming and that Blackwell had behaved in a soulless and malicious way.

Dr. Juvonda Hodge, assistant director of the Grady Hospital Burn Center, talks about severe burns during the trial

Tolbert, right, sits with his mother Jaya Tolbert and his grandfather Johnny Tolbert as they listen to the verdict on Wednesday

Tolbert hugs his mother following the trial on Wednesday. Following the incident, the 21-year-old spent 10 days in hospital

Gooden, 24, spent about a month in the hospital, two weeks of that in a medically induced coma.

Meanwhile Tolbert, 21, spent 10 days in the hospital.

Both men suffered severe burns that required multiple surgeries and skin grafts.

They both testified on Tuesday that they suffered great pain and were unable to perform even the most basic everyday tasks — eating, bathing and using the bathroom — without help when they got out of the hospital.

‘I’m ecstatic. I think justice has been served,’ Tolbert told reporters after the verdict.

He was nervous before the trial, but once he testified about what had happened he felt a weight lift, he said.

Having gone through such an ordeal makes him realize that life is precious, Tolbert said, and he is ready to move on and focus on going to school to study architecture with a minor in computer engineering.

He and Gooden remain friends and check in on each other to see how the other is healing, he said.

Prosecutors asked jurors to find Blackwell guilty of aggravated battery for disfigurement and loss of use of body parts and guilty of aggravated assault for dumping the hot water on them.

Source: The DailyMail

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