A Florida couple and their son have been charged with hate crimes for allegedly beating a gay man so severely that he’s now permanently blind, WPEC-TV reports.
On Tuesday, the Broward State Attorney’s Office charged 44-year-old Inna Makarenko (left), 43-year-old Yevhen Makarenko (right), and their 21-year-old son, Oleh Makarenko (middle).
Each is charged with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling, and kidnapping, with all the charges enhanced as hate crimes. If convicted, the family could be sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors allege that the family targeted the victim because of his sexual orientation, however, authorities have released few details about what specifically prompted the attack or the nature of their relationship with the victim.
The state has also charged another son, 25-year-old Vladyslav Makarenko, with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling, and kidnapping, but the hate crime enhancer was not added to his charges. Police arrested him in Alabama and he has been extradited back to Florida.
Both the parents and sons are being held at the Broward County Jail without bond.
Investigators say the victim, a 31-year-old man who lives in Pompano Beach, was attacked on August 6. The family allegedly broke into his home and beat the victim so brutally that he has been blinded permanently.
“They secretly, forcibly or by threat abducted or imprisoned the victim against his will . . . to terrorize him,” court records obtained by CBS Miami read.
The family members allegedly struck the victim multiple times with their feet, hands and an “unknown object,” according to the court documents.
The Makarenkos did know the victim before they attacked him and targeted him because of his sexual orientation, according to the television station.
Oleh Makarenko is accused of driving a vehicle used to facilitate the attack and helping other family members enter and exit the home.
“He witnessed the incident [and] made no attempts to intervene during a 14-hour period after the incident, made no calls for 911 to have the victim get medical assistance,” prosecutors alleged, according to 7 News Miami.
The three family members charged with hate crimes were arrested at a friend’s home in Pompano Beach on March 10. Outside that home, a sign states “helping Ukrainian refugees wrongly jailed” and includes a QR code, which leads to an online petition, according to WFOR-TV.
The petition reads: “The three arrested family members — mother, father, and son are being accused of severe crimes with multiple charges against them! These could result in a life-in-prison-sentence in the United States or (if even possible) deportation back to Ukraine — where an excruciating war is happening now.”
The petition alleges that the arrested parents have two older children and a younger sister who are still in the home but were “left behind,” the television station reports.
“The news was extremely unexpected and overwhelmed us all! They came out of nowhere and have no ground whatsoever! The family is shocked and doesn’t understand what is happening and where these accusations come from. The accusations are completely false and need to be defeated and ultimately dismissed!” the petition continues.
The family reportedly came to the United States from Ukraine six years ago.
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[Feature Photo: Police Handout]