An investigation is underway to decide whether or not to charge him with a federal hate crime.
The Atlanta truck driver who poured boiling water over a sleeping gay couple in February has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.
According to the Associated Press, a jury found 48-year-old Martin Blackwell guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault. The assaulter couldn’t be charged with a hate crime because Georgia is one of five states that don’t have hate crime statutes, though an FBI spokesperson told Reuters a federal investigation is underway to determine whether or not Blackwell should be charged with a federal hate crime.
The victims, Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert, were sleeping side-by-side when the attack happened. Gooden had recently come out to his family and had been dating Tolbert for about six weeks according to the AP. “They were stuck together like two hot dogs… so I poured a little hot water on them and helped them out,” Blackwell said, according to the incident report.
According to the Washington Post, Tolbert must wear compression garments for 23 hours a day for the next two years and is attending weekly counseling and physical therapy sessions to cope with the physical and emotional attacks. Gooden, whose burns were more severe, was placed in a medically induced coma for several weeks.