POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – The relatives of a family of Ukrainian immigrants are speaking in support of the family after authorities filed hate crime charges against them.
Her mother and father and two brothers are in custody and there is warrant out for her other brother.
Prosecutors say they have filed hate crime charges against the family members accused of severely beating a man because of his sexual orientation.
Those family members are 44-year-old Inna Makarenko, 43-year-old Yevhen Makarenko and their son, 21-year-old Oleh Makarenko.
There is also a warrant out for 25-year-old Pavel Makarenko, their other son.
“He didn’t implicate this family until seven months after the incident,” attorney Mike Glasser said of the victim.
They were each charged with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling and kidnapping, and Tuesday prosecutors added hate crime charges.
All three face possible life sentences.
Prosecutors say the three family members broke into a Pompano Beach home last August and beat a 31-year-old gay man so badly that he has become permanently blinded and sustained other serious injuries.
“Let’s wait to see what evidence there is against this family, because so far there’s been none presented other than one person’s story that changed after six and a half months,” said Glasser.
The victim was lying there for 12 or 13 hours before officers found him.
But the family and their attorney mike Glasner says the cops have it all wrong.
The beating happened on Aug. 6.
Initially, according to the suspects attorney, the victim told police that he was drunk and fell.
Six months later there were charges after the victim changed his story, says Glasser. The victim instead saying that he was dating one of the sons, Oleh Makarenko.
Glasser said Oleh, who also goes by Alex, denied that, and so does his Oleh’s fiancé.
Christina Herman says Oleh Makarenko is the love of her life and that he and his family would never do what they are accused of doing.
“It’s very serious,” Herman said. “We are more than certain they are not involved with this case whatsoever. They are not the people who did that.”