A Georgia man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for pouring a bucket of boiling water on a gay couple as they slept.
Martin Blackwell, 48, was convicted in August 2016 on eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault, reports The Washington Post.
Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert suffered third-degree burns and needed to undergo skin grafts to repair the damage from the burns. Gooden spent several weeks in a medically induced coma after he suffered burns on 60 percent of his body. Tolbert has to wear compression garments for 23 hours a day for two years to help with the burns.
Blackwell was a truck driver who stayed at Gooden's mother's house when off the road, according to WSB-TV. When Blackwell noticed Gooden and Tolbert sleeping in bed together, Blackwell went to the kitchen, brought a pot of water to a boil, and then dumped the pot onto the sleeping couple.
"I woke up to the most unimaginable pain in my entire life," Tolbert said in court testimony. "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."
According to the incident report, Blackwell pulled Tolbert and Gooden off the bed, instructing them to "get out of my house with all that gay." Blackwell also claimed the two were having sex when he entered the room, which both men denied.
"Like, where was your head at? Why would you do this?" Tolbert said after the incident.
Blackwell was reportedly "disgusted" by Gooden and Tolbert's relationship, and he told police "they'll be alright, it's just a little hot water on them."
"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," he said.
Blackwell did not face hate-crime charges because Georgia does not have statutes specifically against hate crimes. The FBI office in Atlanta released a statement saying it would probe the case to see if Blackwell qualifies to face the federal hate crime charges, according to Reuters.
"The pain doesn’t let you sleep,” Tolbert told WSB-TV. "It’s excruciating, 24 hours a day. It doesn’t go anywhere, it doesn’t dial down. It’s just there."