Gay hiking

Broward family charged with hate crime for beating gay man

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Inna Makarenko, 44, Oleh Makarenko, 21, and Yevhen Makarenko, 43, are charged with attempted murder under Florida’s “hate crimes” amelioration law.

– Broward Sheriff’s Office

Three family members have been charged with hate crimes after kidnapping and beating a gay man so badly that he was permanently blinded, Broward prosecutors said Tuesday.

Two parents and their son were formally charged on Tuesday with attempted first-degree murder, burglary with bodily harm and kidnapping ‘with prejudice’ – all charges strengthened under Florida’s ‘hate crimes’ law . This means they all risk life in prison for each count.

The defendants so far are Inna Makarenko, 44, Yevhen Makarenko, 43, and Oleh Makarenko, 21, all of Pompano Beach. They have been in jail since last month, records show. They have already pleaded not guilty, according to court records. The family’s defense attorney did not initially respond to a request for comment.

Another son, Vladyslav Makarenko, 25, was jailed in Alabama, transferred Monday to Broward County and is awaiting a decision from prosecutors on whether he will also be charged under the hate crimes law.

Read more: Historically, Florida law enforcement has lagged in reporting hate crimes.

The Broward State’s Attorney’s Office has not released details of the alleged attack, and public court documents say little about what happened. The victim, who declines to be named publicly, was attacked around August 6 in Pompano Beach. According to a court document, the trio brandished a “gun or other deadly weapon” during the attack.

The charges were brought by the Broward State’s Attorney’s Hate Crimes Unit, established by State’s Attorney Harold Pryor earlier this year.

Since the arrests, supporters of the Makarenkos have launched an online petition proclaiming the family’s innocence. The page describes the family as Ukrainian refugees who run successful door renovation and interior design businesses. “The accusations are completely false and must be dismissed and ultimately dismissed!” says the petition.

This story was originally published April 12, 2022 5:53 p.m.

David Ovalle covers crime and the courts in Miami. A San Diego native, he graduated from the University of Southern California and joined the Herald in 2002 as a sportscaster.