The man who poured boiling water on a same-sex couple because he didn’t approve of the relationship was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday afternoon.
Martin Blackwell, 48, was found guilty on all 10 counts, including aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
The jury deliberated about 90 minutes Wednesday afternoon before announcing the verdict.
In closing arguments, Blackwell’s attorney argued he wasn’t being hateful or malicious when he poured boiling water on a same-sex couple as they slept.
“It’s one act,” attorney Monique Walker told the jury. “It caused injury. It was distasteful, it was disrespectful. But it was not deadly. It was not intentional.”
The prosecutor painted a starkly different picture. Blackwell did intend to hurt Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert, and was methodical and malicious, assistant district attorney Fani Willis told the jury. On Feb. 12, Blackwell heated water in a pot until it boiled and poured it on Gooden and Tolbert, causing severe burns to both men, police said. Prosecutors contend the attack was premeditated.
“You don’t have the right to hurt because you don’t like how they live their life,” Fani Willis, assistant district attorney, told the jurors.
Blackwell’s case was sent to the jury early afternoon.
Instead of numerous felonies with which he is charged, Blackwell should be convicted only of battery, Walker told the jurors.
“It was reckless, it was revolting. It was repugnant,” she said. “But it’s not 10 counts in an indictment. It’s not bringing in the kitchen sink.”
It was literally under a kitchen sink where Blackwell searched for the largest pot and filled it with water, Willis said. The scalding water required both men undergo skin graft surgeries, prosecutors said. Gooden spent nearly a month in the hospital, including two weeks in a medically induced coma, and Tolbert spent 10 days in the hospital.
“It is a felony. And it’s a felonious act,” Willis said. “And he earned every count in the indictment”
Blackwell declined to testify during his trial. He showed no emotion as the verdict and sentencing were read.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.