‘The victim is only me and my family’: Woman says family didn’t commit brutal hate crime

For the first time, the matriarch of a family accused of committing a brutal, anti-gay hate crime in Pompano Beach is speaking to Local 10 News, claiming she and her loved ones are innocent.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – For the first time, the matriarch of a family accused of committing a brutal, anti-gay hate crime in Pompano Beach is speaking to Local 10 News, claiming she and her loved ones are innocent.

Inna Makarenko, her husband and three of their sons were accused of a beating that left a 31-year-old gay man partially blind.

Police said Oleh Makarenko, who is among those charged, was in a nine-month same-sex relationship, which would end with his lover being beaten so badly by Makarenko’s family that the victim became blind.

Authorities allege that Oleh Makarenko, who is also known as Alex and originally from Ukraine, was being forced to marry a woman by his mother.

Police accused him, his parents, Inna and Yevhen Makarenko; and his two brothers, Vladyslav and Pavel “Paul” Makarenko, of attacking the man.

But Inna Makarenko denies all of it.

“The victim is only me and my family,” she told Local 10 News.

Inna Makarenko said when a detective asked her what her family thought about gay people, she told them “we love everyone, we are Christian.”

Prosecutors later dropped the case against Vladyslav Makarenko after defense attorneys provided evidence that he was out of the town at the time of the alleged beating.

Inna Makarenko claims she never even met the man who police say was the victim.

“I can’t understand why he lied,” Makarenko said. “I never could understand how people could lie so easily.”

Inna Makarenko said there’s no physical evidence that places any family member at the scene.

One of her children and her husband remain in an immigration hold.


About the Authors:

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

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.