Members of a family in Broward County, Fla., have been charged with a hate crime after they allegedly kidnapped and beat a gay man so severely that they permanently blinded him.
Broward prosecutors made the announcement on Tuesday. Parents Inna Makarenko, 44, and Yevhen Makarenko, 43, along with their son Oleh Makarenko, 21, were formally charged with counts of attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling, and kidnapping," according to a news release. The charges are all enhanced under the state's "hate crime" law.
Each of the three faces up to life in prison.
The three have pleaded not guilty, according to court documents seen by the Miami Herald.
A second son, Vladyslav Makarenko, 25, was detained in Alabama and transferred to Broward County Monday. Prosecutors have yet to announce whether he'll be charged.
Authorities have released little information about the alleged assault. The victim, who has not been named publicly, is 31 years old.
The three family members are accused of breaking into his home in Pompano Beach, Fla., last August and attacking him, leaving him blind with other serious injuries, according to CBS News. It's understood that the alleged assailants knew the victim and targeted him because he's gay.
"They secretly, forcibly or by threat abducted or imprisoned the victim against his will...to terrorize him," documents reported by the outlet state. The documents add that the accused "struck the victim numerous times...causing serious bodily injury and disfigurement, almost resulting in his death."
A family friend of the accused released a statement saying, "All we know is they are 100% innocent and we have proof of that, but it's just sad to see how they can just take an entire family like that -- just based on accusations -- and there is nothing we can do at this point now because it's in the legal hands."
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