A man in Georgia was sentenced to 40 years in prison this past Wednesday for the crime of throwing scalding hot water on a gay couple in their apartment while they were sleeping. The victims were left with severe burns that required surgery. The jury only took ninety minutes to deliberate. They finally found the 48-year-old Martin Blackwell guilty of eight separate counts of aggravated battery as well as two counts of aggravated assault.
The victims were Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert. Judge Henry Newkirk of the Fulton County Superior Court said the evidence of the case was overwhelmingly in the plaintiff’s favor. The crime was soulless and malicious noting the length of time it take to get water to boil.
He told the defendant,
“You had so many outs where the voice of reason could have taken.”
Prosecutors called the attack vicious and premeditated. One of the victims testified that the defendant grabbed him when he jumped and screamed in pain. The defendant reportedly told him,
“Get out of my house with all that gay.”
Because of state law, the police and lawyers weren’t able to prosecute it as a hate crime. The defendants attorney recognized the crime was committed by their client but begged the jury to look at it as reckless conduct saying,
“It’s not about hate. It’s about old-school culture, old-school thinking.”
No witnesses and evidence were presented by the defense. Likely because their was no defense for his actions. Blackwell didn’t take the stand and had no reaction when the verdict came in.
Prosecutor Fani Willis said,
“We’re not going back to when you get to treat people differently because of who they are.”
The prosecutor focused on the premeditation of the defendant. His choosing a large pot in the house and taking the time to boil it. She argued it gave him plenty of time to think about the consequences of his actions. Most people would agree and so did the jury.
Ding dong, the criminal is put away for the next forty years.