Prosecutors drop 1 of 5 cases against Ukrainian family accused of hate crime

Prosecutors announced Thursday they are dropping one of five hate crime cases related to a beating last year in Pompano Beach that left a 31-year-old gay man partially blind.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Prosecutors announced Thursday they are dropping one of five hate crime cases related to a beating last year in Pompano Beach that left a 31-year-old gay man partially blind.

Oleh “Alex” Makarenko, 21, was allegedly in a 9-month relationship with the victim. Officers accused him, his parents, Innah and Yevhen Makarenko; and his two brothers, Vladyslav and Pavel “Paul” Makarenko, of attacking the man.

Prosecutors dropped the case against Vladyslav Makarenko, 25, after defense attorneys provided evidence that he wasn’t in town on Aug. 6, 2021, when officers said the attack happened. He was arrested in Alabama. His brother Pavel Makarenko was arrested in New York.

Prosecutors dropped the case against Vladyslav Makarenko on Thursday in Broward County. (BSO)

Attorney Mike Glasser, who is representing a defendant, said this likely means the other cases against the Makarenkos will be dropped too.

“This entire case is based around one person’s word in identifying the alleged perpetrators,” Glasser said adding, “If the entire case rests on one person’s word and that person’s word has now shown to be probably unreliable, I think it’s very compelling as it relates to the other four.”

Officers arrested the Makarenkos, Ukrainian refugees with pending asylum applications, on March 10.

They face charges of attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling, and kidnapping with a hate crime enhancement. The maximum possible penalty for each of the three charges is life in state prison.

The only close member of the Makarenko family who wasn’t charged was a 17-year-old girl.

Inna Makarenko was out on bond. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a hold on Yevhen, Pavel, and Vladyslav Makarenko.

Glasser expects ICE to drop the hold on Vladyslav Makarenko and release him soon.

Advocates for the Makarenkos set up a Change.org petition. Angelina Shevchenko, a family friend, said she doesn’t associate the word “hate” with the Makarenkos.

“We worked tirelessly to find the proof of their innocence,” Shevchenko said.


About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.