After a 90-minute deliberation, a jury convicted a man for throwing a pot of boiling water on a same-sex couple as they slept. On Wednesday, Martin Blackwell was convicted on eight counts of aggravated assault for severely burning Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert. Judge Henry Newkirk sentenced Blackwell to 40 years in prison.
The incident occurred on February 12 when Blackwell came home to the apartment he lived in with his girlfriend Kim Foster and her sister. Blackwell saw Foster’s son, Gooden, sleeping in bed with Tolbert. Both Tolbert and Gooden had just finished working an overnight shift and the couple had been dating for about a month.
Upon seeing the couple, Blackwell found a large pot under the sink, filled it with boiling water and dumped it on the couple. As he poured the scalding hot water on the couple, he screamed, “Get out of my house with all that gay.”
Blackwell’s action left Gooden and Tolbert with severe burns that required multiple surgeries.
“I woke up to the most unimaginable pain in my entire life,” Tolbert said during his tearful testimony. “I’m wondering why I’m in so much pain. I’m wondering why I’m wet.”
Tolbert remained in the hospital for ten days while Gooden was hospitalized for a month. Gooden was placed in a medically induced coma for two of those weeks.
Blackwell’s defense attorney, Monique Walker, argued that although his action was not right, he did not intend for it to be a harmful, malicious act. Walker felt that the defendant's crime did not fit the 40-year punishment he faced.
However, prosecutor Fani Willis disagreed and believed that his actions were premeditated. When Blackwell poured the water on the couple, Foster’s teenage daughters were also home. Blackwell gave money to the girls to go get some food, which Willis believed he did so he could attack the couple alone.
Willis argued that disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle choice does not give anyone the right to viciously attack them.
Gooden and Tolbert are no longer together, but the two have remained friends after surviving such a terrible ordeal. They regularly communicate to see how the other is coming along in the healing process.
(Photo: John Bazemore/AP Photo)