Bond denied for man accused of burning gay men

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A Fulton judge denied bond for the 48-year-old man accused of pouring boiling water on a sleeping gay Atlanta couple – one victim was the son of his girlfriend – which means he’s likely to remain in jail until his trial on 10 felonies related to the attack.

On Thursday, Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk denied bond for Martin Blackwell, who faces 10 felony charges – eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault – for his alleged role in the Feb. 12 incident. Blackwell (top photo) is accused of pouring scalding water on the faces, necks, backs and upper torsos of Anthony Gooden (second photo), 23, and Marquez Tolbert (third photo), 21, as the then-boyfriends slept.

The attack caused second- and third-degree burns on both men. Tolbert was hospitalized for 10 days after the incident and Gooden spend nearly five weeks in Grady Memorial Hospital, including two weeks in a coma.

If convicted, Blackwell faces up to 80 years in prison for the attack. A grand jury indicted Blackwell on March 25 and five days later, on March 30, he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Blackwell’s trial is scheduled to start Aug. 22.

“We woke up to boiling hot water,” Tolbert told Project Q Atlanta. “I started screaming uncontrollably and I was pulled out of the house. We ran to the neighbors and called the police.”

“We were just burning. My body was just stinging. It was like a really, really severe kind of stinging. I could hardly think straight,” Tolbert added.

The men were asleep on a mattress in the living room of the apartment that Gooden shared with his mom. Blackwell was dating Gooden's mom but didn't live at the apartment. When he arrived, he spotted the two men asleep and attacked them, according to an incident report from the College Park Police Department. 

Blackwell allegedly told police that he couldn't stand to see the two men sleeping together.

“They was stuck together like two hot dogs, so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out,” Blackwell told investigators. “They was stuck like two hot dogs. They'll be alright, it was just a little hot water.”

The attack gained national attention after it was first reported by Project Q and the men received an outpouring of support. Thousands of people donated nearly $140,000 to the two men through two Go Fund Me campaigns – $68,503 to Tolbert and $70,655 to Gooden. Gay Atlanta also hosted two fundraisers – on March 27 at Woof's and April 2 during the Atlanta Bucks Rugby match.

But by late March, the fund for Gooden was disbanded by the cousin who launched it, Diyawn Jackson, amidst allegations that she was keeping the money. Gooden, facing more than $178,000 in medical bills from Grady Memorial Hospital, said Jackson has given him just $12,000 of the donations, according to WSB. Jackson said she's given Gooden more than half of the money.

“There’s nothing to talk about. You’ve got my account number. You’ve got my routing number. Give me my money,” Gooden told WSB. “She is still holding onto my money. I haven't received all my money and I want something to take place because I need it.”

Jackson had nothing but excuses when WSB reached her.


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