Charges dropped against Florida family accused of blinding gay man in brutal assault

Makarenko family florida dropped all charges alleged homophobic hate crime
Makarenko family florida dropped all charges alleged homophobic hate crime

Prosecutors in Florida have dropped all charges against a family accused of an alleged homophobic hate crime so savage that it left the alleged boyfriend of one of the male suspects medically blind.

The alleged victim was 31 at the time of the attack on August 2, 2022. He at first denied any knowledge of his attackers or the motive behind the alleged attack. Six months later, though, he told investigators he was in a sexual relationship with Oleh Makarenko and that the alleged attack occurred after the Makarenko family discovered both their alleged relationship and Oleh’s sexuality.

Oleh, his mother and father Inna and Yevhen Makarenko, and brothers Pavel and Vladyslav Makarenko were originally arrested and charged after allegedly breaking into the alleged victim’s residence in Pompano Beach and beating, kicking, and punching him.

Prosecutors subsequently dropped charges against Vladyslav after he presented proof that he was out of town at the time of the alleged assault. Yesterday, prosecutors dropped all charges against the remaining family members.

“The primary issue that has arisen in this case is the lack of evidence and identification of the alleged attackers,” prosecutors wrote in a closing memo seen by local ABC affiliate WPLG. “Officers who first responded to the scene were suspicious that the victim was not being truthful in what happened to him.”

Following the alleged assault, the man did not call police but was only discovered by deputies the following day who saw the door open and investigated while responding to an unrelated call in the area, according to local CBS affiliate WFOR. The victim told police he had fallen after drinking alcohol, and that he didn’t remember what happened afterward. Six months later, though, he changed his story and claimed he lied to the police on the scene because he wanted to protect Oleh from his family.

The Makarenko family steadfastly maintained their innocence throughout the entire process. When charges were dropped against his brother in January of last year, Oleh noted the alleged victim had provided investigators with a sworn statement saying the brother helped in the attack.

“Turned out he wasn't there,” Oleh said following that court appearance according to WSVN. “If that was a lie that was proven and charges were dropped against my brother, what’s the probability that everything else in his statement is a lie?”

Prosecutors wrote in their closing memo they believed a crime occurred but that a conviction against the Markarenkos was unlikely.

The Markarenkos were charged with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling, and kidnapping with a hate crime enhancement. They had faced up to life in prison for each of the charges if convicted.