An Atlanta man is being charged with two counts of aggravated battery after he allegedly poured boiling water on a young gay couple taking a nap.
On February 12, police report, Martin Blackwell, 48, found Anthony Gooden, 23, and Marquez Tolbert, 21, resting on a mattress in the living room of Gooden’s College Park apartment. Gooden shares the residence with his mother, with whom Blackwell is in a relationship.
Blackwell maintains that the two men had recently been inseparable and that he couldn’t stand the sight of them together. “They was stuck together like two hot dogs, so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out,” Blackwell told police, reports Project Q Atlanta. “They'll be all right, it was just a little hot water."
During the attack, Tolbert told Atlanta’s WSB TV that Blackwell said to the couple, “Get out of my house with all that gay.” The two men were rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital after sustaining serious injuries.
“We were just burning,” Tolbert said. “My body was just stinging. It was like a really, really severe kind of stinging. I could hardly think straight.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Tolbert underwent a skin graft, replacing the severely scarred skin across his back with skin from his thigh. “The pain doesn’t let you sleep,” Tolbert told WSB. “It’s just like it’s excruciating 24 hours a day.”
Although Tolbert has been released, Gooden has remained in the hospital since the February attack.
Blackwell is currently being held in the Fulton County Jail without bond while he awaits legal representation. Currently, Georgia does not recognize antigay hate crimes in its statutes, and the LGBT liaison for the Atlanta Police Department has yet to make a statement on whether local law enforcement plans to pursue federal charges for the incident.
Only 17 states in the U.S. have hate-crimes laws that cover both sexual orientation and gender identity.