Marquez Tolbert, 21, was lying in bed with his boyfriend back in February, resting after a long day from work, when, according to police reports, his mother's boyfriend, Martin Blackwell, 48, dropped boiling water on the sleeping couple.
Tolbert told Atlanta TV station WSB Friday that he believes he is the victim of a hate crime. "Why else would you pour boiling hot water on somebody?" he asked the station. He had said that during the attack, Blackwell said, “Get out of my house with all that gay.”
Tolbert spent 10 days in the hospital, while his boyfriend, Anthony Gooden, 23, was discharged last Friday after being hospitalized for five weeks. Tolbert's burns were so severe that he underwent surgery that took skin from his thigh to replace skin on his back, reports WSB.
"The pain doesn't let you sleep. It's just, like, it's excruciating, 24 hours a day, and it doesn't go anywhere,” Tolbert told the station. “It doesn't dial down, anything. It's just there." Gooden was burned even more severely and had to be in a medically induced coma for a time.
Blackwell is currently being held in the Fulton County Jail without bond while he awaits legal representation. The LGBT liaison for the Atlanta Police Department took steps to ensure that Blackwell did not make bond, the police told WSB.
Blackwell is charged with two counts of aggravated battery, but there is no hate-crime enhancement, as Georgia does not recognize antigay hate crimes in its statutes. Only 17 states in the U.S. have hate-crimes laws that cover both sexual orientation and gender identity. However, if the federal government becomes involved, Blackwell could be prosecuted under federal hate-crimes law.
Watch a video of Tolbert speaking about the attack below.