Both members of a gay couple in Atlanta were hospitalized after they were attacked by a 48-year-old man as they slept, WSB-TV reported.
“The pain doesn’t let you sleep,” said one of the victims, 21-year-old Marquez Tolbert. “It’s just, like, it’s excruciating, 24 hours a day, and it doesn’t go anywhere.”
Tolbert suffered second- and third-degree burns to his neck, back, and arms during the attack last month. He also required surgery that replaced some of the skin on his back with skin taken from his thigh. Gooden, he said, was only recently released from the hospital.
Police arrested 48-year-old Martin Blackwell in connection with the attack. Blackwell, who is dating Gooden’s mother, is in jail and charged with two counts of aggravated battery.
According to Gooden, the suspect attacked them inside of Gooden’s apartment.
“Martin pulled me up and said, ‘Get out of my house with all that gay,'” Tolbert said. “I couldn’t stop screaming.”
WSB reported that Blackwell was quoted in a police report as saying of the victims, “They’ll be all right. It was just a little hot water on them.” Although Georgia does not have hate crime laws, the suspect could face federal hate crime charges.
“Why else would you pour boiling hot water on somebody?” Tolbert said.
Watch WSB’s report, as aired on Wednesday, below.