Victim: Family Attacked Me Over Belief I Turned Son Gay

4 Makarenko family members now charged with hate crime in Florida
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2022 11:52 AM CDT
Cops: Man Joined Family in Almost Killing Forbidden Beau
This collection of mugshots shows, from left, Inna Makarenko, Yevhen Makarenk, Vladyslav Makarenko, and Oleh Makarenko.   (Broward County Sheriff's Office)

A man permanently blinded and almost killed in an alleged hate crime in Florida says he was attacked by his boyfriend's family, who he says believed he had turned their son gay. The 31-year-old victim told Broward County Sheriff's deputies that his boyfriend of nine months, 21-year-old Oleh Makarenko, told him in late July 2021 that his parents had learned he was gay, were unsupportive, and that "his mother was going to force him to marry a woman," according to an arrest warrant. The victim said Makarenko later asked for his address in Pompano Beach, which he found odd because Makarenko had a key to the apartment, per CBS Miami. Makarenko allegedly turned up with his parents, Inna and Yevhen Makarenko, and brother Vladyslav Makarenko on Aug. 6, 2021.

All four suspects "began punching, kicking and hitting [the victim] all over his face, head and body," the warrant reads, per the Miami Herald. "Unfortunately, your son's gay," the victim said he told Inna before one of the attackers "grabbed an unknown object, and struck him in the face." He then fell to the floor, where "he pretended to be dead so they would … stop beating him." Fourteen hours later, a deputy who noticed the apartment door was ajar found the victim on the floor surrounded by blood, per the warrant. The victim, who was on life support for three weeks and racked up $100,000 in medical bills, only divulged his account of the attack six months later, per CBS. Police said he had meant to protect Oleh.

"This crime was a senseless and unprovoked attack done onto a homosexual man, just due to the mere fact that he was homosexual," Detective Conor Ryan wrote in the warrant. But a lawyer for the family says he's confident his clients had "nothing whatsoever to do with the apparently awful injuries the gentleman sustained," including brain swelling and multiple facial fractures. Oleh's fiancee, Christina Herman, agrees, per WPLG. She says her engagement ring is proof that the love of her life is not gay. All four are charged with attempted murder, battery, and kidnapping with a hate crime enhancement, meaning they face up to life in prison on each count, per the Herald. (More hate crime stories.)

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