A man was convicted of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault after pouring boiling water over a gay couple while they slept, has received a prison sentence of 40 years, according to reports on Wednesday (24 August).
Martin Blackwall, 48, who was dating the mother of one of the victims at the time, left Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert with terrible burns that required multiple surgeries.
Blackwall was said to have poured the pot of boiling water over his girlfriend's son Anthony Gooden, 23, and his boyfriend Marquez Tolbert, 21, as they napped after work at the home of Gooden's mother in College Park, Georgia.
Prosecutors described the assault as vicious and premeditated, saying that Blackwell told one of the men "get out of my house with all that gay ****", according to WSBTV.
"They were stuck together like two hot dogs... so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out," Blackwell said to police, according to the incident report.
Blackwell's defence attorney Monique Walker told jurors her client was reacting to behaviour he found disrespectful. However, Walker acknowledged that her client deserved to be punished, but asked jurors to find that it was reckless conduct.
The defence lawyer went on to say that the case wasn't about hate but "old-school thinking." She said Blackwell made a bad decision but that his actions weren't hateful or criminal.
"It is a felony. And it's a felonious act," assistant district attorney Fani Willis said in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Gooden and Tolbert testified that they suffered excruciating pain as a result of the attack, which happened while they lay sleeping in an Atlanta apartment. The scalding water caused severe injuries that caused both men undergo skin graft surgeries, prosecutors said.
Gooden spent nearly four weeks in hospital, including two weeks in a medically induced coma. Over 60% of his body was burned and he underwent skin graft surgery to his face, neck, back, arms, chest and head.
Tolbert spent 10 days in hospital. During his testimony he said: "I woke up to the most unimaginable pain in my entire life," according to 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 did not take the stand during his trial and showed no emotion while the sentencing and verdict were read out.