21-year-old Marquez Tolbert and his boyfriend Anthony Gooden were sleeping at Gooden’s Atlanta apartment when Gooden’s mother’s boyfriend poured hot water on them. Tolbert suffered second and third degree burns, and required a 10-day hospital stay to replace skin that had been burned off of his back. Gooden was recently released from the hospital.
The alleged perpetrator, 48-year-old Martin Blackwell, was charged with two counts of aggrivated battery, and WSB-TV2 Atlanta reports that the local LGBT liason intervened to ensure that Blackwell didn’t post bail.
In Tolbert’s heartbreaking interview, he explained how the attack has physically affected him:
“The pain doesn’t let you sleep. It’s just, like, it’s excruciating, 24 hours a day, and it doesn’t go anywhere. It doesn’t dial down, anything. It’s just there.I can barely think straight because the burning, the stinging is everywhere. Martin pulled me up and said, ‘Get out of my house with all that gay.’ I couldn’t stop screaming.”
He also believes the attack was motivated by Blackwell’s homophobia:
“Why else would you pour boiling hot water on somebody?”
Hate crime laws aren’t on the books in Georgia, but there may be federal intervention in the future to upgrade the charges. A GoFundMe page to help with Tolbert’s hospital bills has reached nearly $16,000 of a $30,000 goal. Watch the report via WSB-TV2 Atlanta below.