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Watch: Florida Family Arrested, Face Hate Crime Charges in Brutal Anti-Gay Beating

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday April 13, 2022

A family in Florida has been arrested in connection with a hate crime beating so brutal that it left the victim permanently blind. Prosecutors say that the attack was targeted and driven by the victim's sexual orientation. Three of the four suspects face hate crimes charges and possible life in prison, local CBS affiliate Channel 12 reported.

"The Broward State Attorney's Office says it filed the hate crime charges on Tuesday for beating the man based on his sexual orientation," the news report detailed. "The defendants are Inna Makarenko, 44; Yevhen Makarenko, 43; and Oleh Makarenko, 21."

All three "are charged with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling and kidnapping," reported local news channel WSVN. "All three charges against the three family members were filed as hate crimes."

The family immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine six years ago and do not have previous police records, news sources noted.

Oleh is accused of driving his parents and brother to a home in Pompano Beach, where Oleh and his parents allegedly broke in and attacked the victim in early August of 2021, UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported. The parents and Oleh were arrested in Florida last month.

"The couple's other son, Vladylav Makarenko, 25, was arrested in Alabama and extradited to the Broward County Jail on Monday, prosecutors said," the Mail added. "He also has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling and kidnapping, but the counts were not filed under a hate crime."

An online petition started by friends of the Makarenkos declares the family to be innocent of the crimes with which they have been charged.

"The three arrested family members — mother, father, and son are being accused of severe crimes with multiple charges against them!" the petition reads, according to the Mail. "These could result in a life-in-prison-sentence in the United States or (if even possible) deportation back to Ukraine — where an excruciating war is happening now."

According to arrest documents, the family of attackers "almost killed the man after 'striking the victim numerous times' with their hands, feet and an 'unknown object,' leaving him with 'serious' injuries," the Mail relayed.

"Officials haven't released many details about the attack in order to protect the victim's privacy, who has chosen not to be identified under Marsy's Law, which allows crime victims to withhold their identity," the article continued.

"Prosecutors, however, have confirmed that the Makarenkos knew the victim before the attack and specifically targeted him because he is gay."

To watch the WVN news clip, follow this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.