By Karli Barnett

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — The attorney for the family accused of beating a man due to his sexual orientation says they had nothing to do with the crime.

“It’s an emphatic denial that they injured this individual, that they would ever endeavor to injure this individual, and, most specifically, that they would not even think of injuring individual based on his sexual orientation,” says attorney Michael Glasser.

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On Tuesday, the Broward State Attorney’s Office filed hate crime charges against Yevhen, Inna, and Oleh Makarenko— a father, mother, and son— saying on August 6, 2021 they attacked a gay man, leaving him permanently blind. The 31-year-old victim is not being named due to Marsy’s Law.

Glasser says the alleged victim first told police he was drunk and fell. Then, about six months later, he told authorities he was in a secret relationship with Oleh Makarenko, which Glasser says the family denies.

“Many, if not all of them, didn’t even know this person in any way, shape, or form,” says Glasser.

The Makarenkos live in Pompano Beach and were charged back in March for the alleged crime with attempted murder, kidnapping, and battery. The hate crime charges were the latest filed.

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The arrest forms say they “secretly, forcibly or by threat abducted or imprisoned the victim against his will… to terrorize him.”

They also say they “Struck the victim numerous times… causing serious bodily injury and disfigurement, almost resulting in his death.”

“Thus far, there’s really been scant, and borderline nothing, remotely compelling that points to this family having anything to do with this poor guy’s injuries,” says Glasser.

A sign on the family’s mailbox claims they are innocent and that they’re Ukrainian refugees. This, even though Glasser says they’ve lived in the United States for six years. Scanning a QR code on the sign takes you to an online petition with almost 400 signatures and a link to contribute to their defense costs.

A fourth family member, Vladyslav Makarenko, was arrested in Alabama and extradited to the Broward jail. The State Attorney’s Office says no formal charges have been filed against him yet.

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Inna Makarenko is scheduled to have a bond hearing on April 25.

Karli Barnett