The Florida family Makarenkos have allegedly beaten, blinded gay man after he ‘made’ their son gay

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A Florida man was brutally beaten and blinded by members of his girlfriend’s family because they believed the man “made” their son gay, according to court documents.

Prosecutors claim Inna Makarenko, 44; Yevhen Makarenko, 43; and two of their adult sons, Oleh, 21, and Vladyslav, 25, assaulted the man in his apartment in Pompano Beach last August and beat him so hard that they left him severely wounded in a pool of his own blood for about 14 hours. The reason for the attack, the man said, was because of his relationship with Oleh, with whom he had been dating for about nine months.

“Unfortunately, your son is gay,” the man told Inna when the family allegedly attacked him. The 31-year-old man has asked authorities to withhold his identity under Marsy’s law, which allows alleged victims to keep “information or records that could be used to locate or harass the victim or victim’s family” from being released.

The Makarenko are all charged with first-degree attempted murder, battery burglary and kidnapping. Prosecutors “strengthened” the charges against Inna, Yevhen and Oleh under the state’s law on hate crimes, meaning the three risk life in prison on each of the three charges. Vladyslav, who does not face the upgraded charges, was extradited from Alabama and joined his family in Broward County Jail. Paula McMahon, a spokeswoman for the Broward State Attorney’s Office, told The Washington Post that Vladyslav is expected to be charged next week.

The law firm has accused the family of “beating a man hard because of his sexual orientation.” In a statement announcing the accusations of hate crimes, the prosecutor said the man “has been permanently blinded and has suffered other serious injuries as a result of the incident.”

“He said the reason for this attack was that he was gay, Oleh dated, and that the family felt he was making Oleh gay,” the ruling said.

Michael Glasser, the family’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday. Glasser told WFOR last week that the family denies having attacked the man, saying the victim’s credibility should be questioned because he waited six months to make the allegations against Makarenkos.

“Many, if not all, of them did not even know this person in any way, and they vehemently denied having been there in the residence for any of the incident,” Glasser told the newspaper. “So far, there has been really little and no cross-border evidence to suggest that this family has anything to do with the injuries of this poor guy.”

LGBTQ issues have been at the forefront of the Florida debate. Governor Ron DeSantis (R) earlier this month signed the Bill on Parental Rights in Education, which critics have stamped the law on “not being gay”. The measure bans teaching or discussion in the classroom about sexual orientation or gender identity issues in kindergarten through third grade and also allows parents to sue a school district for learning they do not like.

Florida law limiting LGBTQ discussion in schools explained

LGBTQ advocates say the measure promotes the state’s efforts to portray the LGBTQ community as “different” or even dangerous, and gay rights groups have sued Florida over the law, claiming it violates the constitutionally protected freedom of expression, equal protection and fair process of students and families. But DeSantis and Republicans have insisted on defending the law, which the governor claims protects against “sexualization of children in kindergarten.”

Teen LGBTQ rights activist Will Larkins spoke to The Post about fighting this controversial bill less than a month after it was signed into law. (Video: Drea Cornejo / The Washington Post)

The 31-year-old man began dating Oleh sometime in late 2020, where Oleh slept over many times and even had a key to the man’s apartment, according to court records. Their relationship changed in the summer of 2021, when Yevhen, Oleh’s father, “found out he was gay,” according to the ruling. At a time when the father “treated [Oleh] bad and did not accept him, ”Oleh had also allegedly mentioned to his girlfriend that his mother “should force him to marry a woman”.

On. On August 6, 2021, the man thought there was something strange when Oleh asked for his address, even though he had visited regularly for several months, prosecutors say. Around 1 o’clock the man opened the gate and saw not only Oleh but also his family, which the man recognized from pictures, it says in the ruling. Oleh, as the man said, seemed nervous, shouting, “Go inside!”

The family then allegedly chased the man and forced themselves into his South Florida apartment. All four family members “continued to hold [the victim] and started hitting, kicking and hitting [him] all over his face, head and body, ”according to the ruling.

When the man told Inna that Oleh was gay, the victim said, “one of them grabbed an unknown object and punched him in the face.”

“After he fell to the floor, he pretended to be dead, so they would think he was dead and stop beating him,” the ruling said.

Around. At 3 p.m., about 14 hours after the attack, a deputy in the Broward Sheriff’s Office, who was at the complex for an unrelated event, noticed the door to the man’s apartment was open. The deputy went into the apartment and saw the man lying on the floor covered in his own blood, court records show.

The victim did not immediately tell police what happened, claiming he had been drinking and falling. About six months later, he told prosecutors that “his memory of the incident” had returned and tried to raise charges against Oleh and his family.

Prosecutors say the man was blinded and suffered extensive injuries as a result of the attack, including swelling of the brain, severe bruising, multiple fractures of the facial bones, a broken jaw and a concussion. His medical bills have exceeded $ 100,000, according to court records. The man, who has undergone four surgeries and is expected to undergo at least two more, “has been told that he will most likely never get the sight of any of the eyes again,” according to the ruling.

Despite the accusations, supporters of Makarenkos have declared the family innocent. An online signature collection in support of them describes Makarenkos as Ukrainian refugees who came to the United States six years ago and run thriving door and interior renovation companies.

Among those declaring the family innocent is Christina Herman, who is Oleh’s fiancée. She told the WPLG that she does not believe Oleh, who also follows Alex, is gay.

“I have evidence,” Herman said. “I wear a ring, which is an engagement ring and a kind of marriage ring. I know Alex has her ring in jail. It’s proof to me. I know we’re in a relationship.”

But Broward Sheriff’s detective Conor Ryan wrote in the ruling that the man’s allegations and other evidence point to a potential hate crime.

“This crime was a senseless and unprovoked attack on a gay man, simply because of the fact that he was gay,” Ryan wrote.

Inna is scheduled to attend a bond hearing Monday afternoon, McMahon said. None of the other family members have scheduled hearings early Friday.

Amber Phillips contributed to this report.

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