Man accused along with family of brutal hate crime speaks out

Defense attorney says family will be vindicated because victim’s credibility in question

A family is accused of a brutal hate crime. Now one of them is out of jail while the others remain.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It is the first time we are hearing from one of a family of five who was accused and in jail for a brutal hate crime. It is a high-profile case but the defense attorney says what’s at issue now is the victim’s credibility.

“I feel like I’m about to cry because I’m getting to people who care about it. It’s just a nightmare to say the least what happened to me,” says Vlad Makarenko. “I feel like it’s the worst time of my life, but after all, I am just grateful for God’s presence.”

A mother, a father and three of their sons were arrested in connection to a beating that left a gay man blind.

“I feel so bad about my mom, she’s emotionally broken. Can you imagine? She’s from Ukraine. Her sister died and her grandma died and she knows all her children are in jail?” Vlad Makarenko said.

He was released from jail after his attorney Mike Glasser was able to provide the state with information that Vlad was out of the state at the time of the alleged crime.

“Now we have a situation where one of the people that he presumably swore under oath was there in the midst of this beating was in another state,” Glasser said.

The victim originally told cops that he fell. It was only six months after the beating that he implicated the family

Prosecutors argue that the victim changed his story because he was afraid.

They say Oleh Makarenko was in a nine-month relationship with the victim in this case.

Police: “Do you believe the reason that reason you were . . . that all this happened to you and why they came to you was because you are gay?”

“Because I’m gay, yeah, because I’m gay you know, and they thought or they think I turned his son gay. "

Vlad maintains that his family is innocent.

“They treat you like a piece of garbage and it shouldn’t be like this,” Vlad said.

The defense will continue to argue on behalf of the family and say that if the alleged victim got this wrong, what else did he get wrong?

About the Author:

Reporter Rosh Lowe has been covering news for nearly two decades in South Florida. He joined Local 10 in 2021.