Anthony Gooden had only come out and told his family that he was gay a few weeks before he and his boyfriend, Marquez Tolbert, were attacked in their sleep. Martin Blackwell, a truck driver who stayed at Gooden’s mother’s home whenever he was in town, walked in to see the two together in the living room. That’s when he went to the kitchen, boiled a pot of water and threw it on the  couple.

A Georgia jury spent only 90 minutes deliberating as they found Blackwell guilty and convicted him on eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault, according to the Washington Post. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. 

They were stuck together like two hot dogs … so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out,” he said to police, according to the incident report. “… They’ll be alright. It was just a little hot water.”

As a result of the incident, both Gooden and Tolbert have had to make drastic changes to their lives after sustaining major injuries. Tolbert will have to wear compression garments for 23 hours a day for the next two years and is going through weekly counseling for both physical and emotional injuries. Gooden was placed in a medically induced coma for weeks with burns to more than 60 percent of his body.

“I woke up to the most unimaginable pain in my entire life,” Tolbert said, sobbing frequently during his testimony, according to the AP. “I’m wondering why I’m in so much pain. I’m wondering why I’m wet. I don’t understand what’s going on.”

While the state of Georgia won’t be able to count the assault as a hate crime – it’s one of only five states that doesn’t have the classification – the federal government is still considering bringing up federal hate crime charges.

Photo Credit: College Park Police

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