ATLANTA - The mother of a gay man severely burned by boiling water says she never thought her then-boyfriend of three years was capable of what he did.
Martin Blackwell is accused of pouring the hot water on Anthony Gooden and his boyfriend, Marquez Tolbert, as they slept in his mother’s College Park apartment after a 12-hour work shift. Blackwell allegedly told police he was disgusted by the men’s relationship.
“I just woke up screaming, ‘Ah, what’s going on?’ He just threw hot water. It hurt,” Gooden said.
"Martin pulled me up and said, 'Get out of my house with all that gay,'" Tolbert said. "I couldn't stop screaming.”
Tolbert suffered second and third-degree burns on his neck, back and arms. Gooden was severely burned on his face and the front of his body.
Tolbert spent 10 days at Grady Memorial Hospital undergoing surgery that took skin from his thigh to replace skin on his back.
Gooden got out the hospital one week ago. He spent two weeks in a coma and is now facing two years of recovery.
“It still hurt my family. It still hurt me. Thinking about it. I just feel like that was real hateful. You didn't have to do that to nobody,” Gooden said. "You could have walked out the door. Could've walked down the street. Could have done anything. To pour hot water on us? That's evil."
Gooden says he’s still trying to understand what made Blackwell do what he did.
“Like, what were you thinking? Where was your head at?” Gooden said.
According to the police report, Blackwell told officers, “They’ll be alright. It was just a little bit of hot water on them.”
Gooden said he had just come out to his family last year and had recently become comfortable bringing his boyfriend around them.
Gooden’s mother, Kim Foster, says she and Blackwell had been together for three years and knew each others’ families well. She says nothing raised a red flag before the attack.
Foster says they even had a conversation the night before the attack when Blackwell questioned her son’s relationship, but she didn’t think anything of it.
“I said, ‘That's not your house. You need to mind your business.’ (And he said,) 'Well, they laying up there.' I said, ‘That is not your business. (Anthony) don't bother you. That boy don't bother you. This is not your house,’" Foster recalled.
She says she was shocked when she found out what happened.
“When I got there are saw my child, I wanted to die,” Foster said. “He's not human. He got hatred in his heart and God's gonna deal with him."
Both Gooden and Tolbert say they believe the scars they’re now living with are scars of hate.
“Yeah I hate looking in the mirror. But it’s healing. It’s healing everyday now,” Gooden said. "Sometimes when I think about (it), I get angry. But I also know how to pray and ask God to release that anger and bring me happiness."
Blackwell remains in the Fulton County Jail charged with two counts of aggravated battery.
Georgia does not have hate crime laws, but the FBI is looking into it, which could lead to more charges.
FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett says they are investigating under the civil rights statute as to whether it meets the classification as a hate crime.
“I just want Martin to be gone. I want him to be gone and I want them to prosecute him to the full extent,” Gooden said. "It was the worst night of my life."
CLICK HERE to visit Gooden's GoFundMe page.
CLICK HERE to visit Tolbert's GoFundMe page.
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