- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 17, 2016

Federal hate crime charges could be brought against a Georgia man who admitted to pouring boiling hot water on a gay couple while they slept, authorities in Atlanta said this week.

Martin Blackwell, 48, already faces two counts of aggravated battery for the Feb. 12 incident, which left one victim hospitalized for a month with severe burns.

Anthony Gooden and his boyfriend, Marquez Tolbert, 21, were asleep in the living room of the College Park apartment Mr. Gooden shares with his mother when Mr. Blackwell, the mother’s boyfriend, arrived and carried out the attack, according to an incident report.

Amid the assault, Mr. Blackwell screamed at the two men to “get out of my house with all that gay,” Mr. Tolbert told ABC. Mr. Blackwell did not live at the apartment, but frequently visited his girlfriend there.

According to the police report, Mr. Blackwell told investigators he was disgusted by the men’s relationship, ABC News’s local affiliate reported.

“They was stuck together like two hot dogs, so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out,” Mr. Blackwell reportedly told investigators. “They was stuck like two hot dogs. They’ll be all right, it was just a little hot water.”

Mr. Tolbert told Project Q Atlanta, a popular gay-news blog, that he and Mr. Gooden “woke up to boiling hot water.”

“I started screaming uncontrollably and I was pulled out of the house,” said Mr. Tolbert, who required a skin graft to repair the wounds on his back. “We ran to the neighbors and called the police.”

Mr. Tolbert spent 10 days recovering in a hospital, while Mr. Gooden was released Friday, four weeks after the attack, ABC reported.

Georgia is one of five states in the U.S. without a state hate crime law, but an Atlanta Police Department LGBT liaison told the ABC affiliate that the possibility of bringing federal hate crime charges against the alleged assailant will be discussed at an upcoming hearing.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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