Martin Blackwell
WSB-TV screenshot

A Georgia judge sentenced a man to 40 years in prison Wednesday after he threw scalding water on a gay couple sleeping in an apartment, leaving them with severe burns, the Chicago Tribune reports.

According to the report, jurors only deliberated for about 90 minutes before finding 48-year-old Martin Blackwell guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault for his attack on Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert.

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Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk pointed to the overwhelming evidence in the case and also slammed Blackwell for acting in "a soulless and malicious way," the Tribune reports.

The judge emphasized that it "takes a long time" for a pot of water to boil.

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"You had so many outs where the voice of reason could have taken over," the judge told Blackwell.

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Blackwell, according to the report, had faced up to 80 years in prison for the horrific February attack.

Prosecutors argued that the attack was premeditated. One of the victims, Tolbert, testified that as Blackwell poured the hot water on them, he told them, "Get out of my house with all that gay."

Marquez Tolbert and Anthony Gooden
WSB-TV

Even though Blackwell told the young couple that he did not want them in his house, Blackwell did not even reside in the apartment. It belonged to the mother of the other victim, Gooden. Blackwell, the mother's boyfriend, had frequented the apartment.

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Blackwell's attorney acknowledged his client did pour the scalding water on the couple, but asked that the jury rule the attack as reckless conduct.

"It's not about hate. It's about old-school culture, old-school thinking," Monique Walker insisted.

Gooden, 24, spent about a month in the hospital and had to be placed in a medically induced coma for two weeks of that time. Tolbert, 21, spent about 10 days in the hospital. Both men were severely burned and needed to undergo multiple surgeries and skin grafts.  Both men testified about the difficulty they had performing even the most basic tasks, such as eating and using the bathroom, upon their release from the hospital.

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"I'm ecstatic. I think justice has been served," Tolbert said after the verdict was read.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.