Man indicted for burning gay Atlanta couple

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A metro Atlanta man accused of seriously injuring two men by pouring boiling water on them was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury and now faces up to 80 years in prison. 

Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard announced the indictment of Martin Luther Blackwell (top photo), 48, on Friday. He faces eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault for his alleged role in the Feb. 12 incident. Blackwell 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.

Blackwell remains in the Fulton County Jail. If convicted, he faces up to 80 years in prison for the attack, Howard said.

“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.”

Georgia does not have a hate crime law, but the FBI is investigating the case to see if Blackwell can be charged under the federal hate crime law, FBI Special Agent Steve Emmett told the AJC. 

“It’s important for the public to know that we are taking a look at this case,” Emmett said.

Emmett could not be reached on Monday for an update about the FBI investigation.

“It is still hurting my family. It is still hurting me. It is still hurting me thinking about it,” Gooden told WSB. “I just feel like it was real hateful. He didn't have to do that to nobody.”

“It was evil,” he added.

The attack gained national attention and the men received an outpouring of support. A Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds for Tolbert's recovery received $67,248 in donations. Organizers had originally hoped to raise $30,000. Tolbert thanked supporters in a recent video. (Watch below)

A similar fund was also established for Gooden, but it has since been disbanded. 

The incident caught the attention of gay Atlanta as well. Woof's hosted a fundraiser on Sunday and donated 20 percent of its sales to the recovery fund for the men. 

On Saturday, the Atlanta Bucks will collect donations during their rugby match with the Charlotte Royals. The squad will also donate the proceeds from its concession stand.



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