Florida Family Accused Of Blinding Son’s Boyfriend Has Charges Dropped

Florida Family Accused Of Blinding Son’s Boyfriend Has Charges Dropped
Image: Inna Makarenko, 45, Oleh Makarenko, 21, and Yevhen Makarenko, 44, were charged with hate crimes for assaulting and blinding a gay man in Florida. Image: Broward State Attorney’s Office

Prosecutors said they were dropping attempt to murder and hate crime charges against three members of a family in Florida accused of brutally beating up the son’s boyfriend and leaving him blind. 

Trigger Warning: This story has details of a homophobic attack, 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.

Inna Makarenko, 44, Yevhen Makarenko, 43 and Oleh Makarenko, 21 were charged with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling, and kidnapping over the brutal assault on the 31-year-old unidentified victim in August 2021. The offences carried life sentences.

On February 20, the prosecutors announced that “though it was apparent that a crime was committed, there is no likelihood of conviction that these defendants committed such crimes,” reported The Sun Sentinel. 

Crucial Evidence Lost

The victim was found by police in a pool of blood in his home in Pompano Beach in August 2021. He initially told the police that he fell after a drinking episode. Six months later, he told police he was attacked by the Makarenko family after they found out about the relationship. 

The victim said he did not get back his memory until six months after the alleged attack. However, this resulted in the loss of crucial evidence, including CCTV footage of the area outside his apartment. 

The victim told NYPost that he thought he was “going to die and there’s no way I was going to walk out of there alive.” According to the victim, Oleh had revealed that his parents were furious after finding out about their relationship. They had turned up at his home on August 6, 2021, and attacked him after he told them: “Unfortunately, no matter what you do, it’s not going to change that your son is gay”. The police found the bloodied victim around 14 hours after the attack. 

Hate Crime

In April 2022, the Broward State Attorney’s Office filed hate crime charges against the Makarenkos accusing them of severely beating the victim “based on his sexual orientation”.

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

The state attorney’s office had earlier dropped charges against a fourth member of the family, Vladyslav Makarenko after he submitted evidence that he was outside the state at the time of the attack. 

The family had denied the allegations. Inna Makarenko told CBS News that she had never heard of the victim and that he was a “liar”. She claimed her son had a “fiancee” and that they had nothing against gay people.

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