n Atlanta man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after he was found guilty on Wednesday after he threw boiling hot water on a gay couple, Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert, as they slept. The man, Martin Blackwell was convicted of 10 counts – two counts of aggravated assault and eight counts of aggravated battery – in the February attack on the gay couple.
The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes after the brief trial and returned with the guilty verdict. Prosecutors have said that on the night of the attack, Blackwell filled the largest pot in his home with water and set it to boil before tossing it on Gooden and Tolbert, who were sleeping and who had been dating for about a month.
The couple had been staying with Gooden’s mother, who was dating Blackwell.
“You were soulless, malicious and a violent person [during the attack],” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk said to Blackwell Wednesday before sentencing him, according to the AJC.
Prosecutors argued that Blackwell was motivated by homophobia.
Vote Adegbuyi Oludayo at the ongoing NIGMA Awards
Tolbert testified at trial that Blackwell grabbed him after the attack and said, “Get out of my house with all that gay sh**”
Gooden and Tolbert’s injuries were severe.
Gooden was hospitalized for about a month, including two weeks in a coma, and while his boyfriend, Tolbert was hospitalized for 10 days.
Both men had several surgeries and both testified at Blackwell’s trial.
Blackwell’s defense attorneys did not present any evidence at trial or call any witnesses but they argued that the attack was reckless rather than premeditated.
“It’s not about hate. It’s about old-school culture, old-school thinking,” attorney Monique Walker told jurors.
Blackwell’s defense argued he was motivated by a sense of disrespect for the victims’ behavior in the home – a claim the prosecution dismissed.
After the verdict, Tolbert told reporters he felt “justice was served,” adding “I’m ecstatic,” Tolbert said Wednesday.