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Family accused of violent hate crime leaving gay man blind claims they’re the ‘real victims’

Danai Nesta Kupemba August 5, 2022
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The entire Makarenko family prison head shots. Inna, the mother to the left, Oleh, the son in the middle, and Yevhen, the father to the right.

Inna Makarenko (left) Oleh Makarenko (centre) and Yevhen Makarenko (right). (Broward County Sheriff's Office)

A Florida woman whose family is accused of a brutal hate crime that left a gay man permanently blind says “he is a liar not a victim”.

Inna Makarenko, Yevhen Makarenko and Oleh Makarenko face allegations of beating a gay man in his Pompano Beach apartment, in Florida in August 2021.

The man was said to be Oleh’s boyfriend of nine months and Inna believed he had “turned” her son gay. Inna wanted Oleh to marry a woman so the family allegedly concocted a plan to attack the man. It is claimed Yevhen beat up the victim while Oleh and Inna watched from the side.

The gay man was found bloodied and unconscious 14 hours later by police visiting his apartment complex for a different reason.

The Broward County State Attorney’s Office police report stated the victim was “permanently blinded and sustained other serious injuries as a result of the incident”.

The man, who has remained anonymous, didn’t report the incident until February of this year as he says he didn’t get his memories of the events back until six months later.

The three relatives were arrested in March and each charged with attempted first-degree murder, battery and kidnapping. These charges are enhanced for hate crimes and could carry a life sentence.

Irina was released over the weekend from Krome immigration detention facility on a $10,000 bond, according to CBS News.

Broward County Courthouse building
An anti-gay hate crime in Florida is being investigated by Broward County Courthouse. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

In an conversation with CBS News following her release Inna said she had “never heard” of the alleged victim before.

“I never heard about this person,” Inna said. “Maybe if it was some communication, maybe it was for some reason. I don’t know. I want so much to see my son to hug him and to give him some questions, because I don’t understand.”

Inna said her son wasn’t in a relationship with the alleged victim and that he has a fiancé. Inna claims that at the time of the incident she her family were celebrating her daughter’s birthday party and so could not have committed a hate crime.

The matriarch sustains her innocence and said she was the one suffering in this situation, saying “the victim is only me and my family”.

She added: “The rule is not working here. Be good, do good, and you will be fine. No,” she said. “One day, someone can just point a finger on you and police can catch you, even without evidence or anything.”

Inna has accused the Florida gay man of lying and said: “This boy’s a liar, not a victim.”

Yevhen and Oleh are still being held at Krome Detention Centre.

Their next hearing to determine their status is on 5 August.

More: Florida, Hate crime, Homophobia

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