On Wednesday, Martin Blackwell was found guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault in the Feb. 12 attack on Anthony Gooden, Jr. and Marquez Tolbert, The Associated Press reports. Both Tolbert, 21, and Gooden, 23, suffered second and third-degree burns as a result of the attack.
Blackwell, 48, had been dating Gooden’s mother, Kim Foster, at the time of the incident. At the time of his arrest, he claimed that Tolbert and Gooden had been having sex at Foster’s home when he walked in.
He also reportedly told the couple, “Get out of my house with all that gay” after he scalded them with the hot water.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Blackwell showed no emotion as the verdict was read. While he declined to testify during the trial, his attorney had asked the jury to interpret her client’s actions as reckless conduct.
“It’s one act,” attorney Monique Walker told jurors. “It caused injury. It was distasteful, it was disrespectful. But it was not deadly. It was not intentional.”
But jurors ultimately dismissed those arguments in their verdict. Noting that it “takes a long time” for water to boil, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk said it was clear that Blackwell had acted maliciously.
“You had so many outs where the voice of reason could have taken over,” Newkirk told Blackwell at the time of the sentencing.
Blackwell was not charged with a hate crime at the state level, because Georgia does not have such legislation in place. Still, an FBI spokesman said investigators are considering charging Blackwell with a federal hate crime, Reuters reported.
Check out a video interview with Tolbert, shot shortly after the incident, below.
Here’s hoping this news will come as some consolation to Gooden and Tolbert as they continue to heal.