A hate crime has left two gay Atlanta men severely burned and family members asking why they were targeted.
Police report that Anthony Gooden, 23, and Marquez Tolbert, 21, are partners and lived with Gooden’s mother at her College Park, Georgia, apartment. According to Gooden, his mother recently started dating Martin Luther Blackwell, 48, and it seemed that he and Blackwell got along.
In the early morning hours of Feb. 12, Tolbert and Gooden had returned from their warehouse job and went to sleep on a mattress in Gooden’s mother’s living room. While the couple was sleeping, Blackwell took a pot of boiling water and poured it over the pair.
“We woke up to boiling hot water. 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,” said Tolbert.
Blackwell did not live at the apartment but he told police investigators that he just couldn’t stand to see the two gay men sleeping together, He is quoted as telling the police, “”They was stuck together like two hot dogs, so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out .They was stuck like two hot dogs.They’ll be all right; it was just a little hot water.”
The men suffered second- and third-degree burns on their necks, backs and arms, and were rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital, Tolbert was released after 10 days while Gooden remained in the hospital for five weeks and was just released recently.
Blackwell was arrested on two counts of aggravated battery and remains at the Fulton County Jail without bond awaiting trial.
Family friends have launched a GoFundMe page to help pay the medical expenses for Marquez Tolbert, who has a long road to recovery.The Marquez’s Burn Recovery Fund page has received $10,087 so far with a goal of $30K.