Three members of a Florida family accused of brutally attacking and blinding a 31-year-old gay man have been charged with hate crimes. 

Trigger Warning: This story has details of a homophobic incident, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

The Broward State Attorney’s Office said that they had filed hate crime charges on Tuesday against a woman, her husband and their son, who have been “accused of severely beating a man based on his sexual orientation.

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Inna Makarenko (45) her husband Yevhen Makarenko (44) and the couple’s son Oleh Makarenko (21), who were arrested last month, were charged on Tuesday with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling, and kidnapping. If convicted, each of the three charges is punishable with life in a state prison. 

Case Being Reviewed Against Fourth Family Member

The state attorney’s office said that the couple’s eldest son Vladyslav Makarenko (25) was transferred from Alabama to the Broward County jail on Monday. “Prosecutors are reviewing the case against him and formal charges have not been filed at this time,” the attorney’s office said.

All four family members have been held without a bond and the Broward Sheriff’s Office is continuing with their investigations into the case.

The attorney’s office has not released much information about the incident or the identity of the victim. According to the prosecution, the 31-year-old victim is a resident of Pompano beach. He was severely beaten during the incident in the city on August 6, 2021. 

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“He has been permanently blinded and sustained other serious injuries as a result of the incident,” the state attorney’s office said. 

A New Hate Crimes Unit

The case is being handled by the newly formed State Attorney’s Office Hate Crimes Unit.

The unit was created by Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor recently “to combat hate crimes, raise public awareness of this issue, and help increase reporting of such crimes in our community.”

“Hate crimes send a message to try to demean and intimidate the intended targets, they have an impact that extends far beyond the victim. We urge everyone to work together to help increase awareness of hate crimes and encourage people to report these offences,” Pryor posted on Facebook.

Broward County residents can call the hotline at 954-831-8059 or visit the website to report a hate crime. Under Florida’s Hate Crime Enhancement law, tougher penalties are attracted in hate crime cases. The law is used in cases where the crime is motivated by a victim’s race, colour, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, ancestry, age or homelessness status. 

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

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