A Florida man left permanently blinded in a brutal beating told police he was ambushed by the family of the young man with whom he was having a sexual relationship. The victim, whose name is withheld due to Marsy's Law, said the family was upset he had allegedly "turned" their son gay. The man initially told police he had no memory of the incident which took place August 6 last year, but now says he was only trying to protect his former boyfriend who was arrested along with his mother, father, and brother for their alleged roles in the assault.
Local CBS affiliate WFORobtained a copy of the newly released arrest warrant which contained previously unknown facts about the case. The victim, 31, lives in Pompano Beach and told deputies with the Broward Sheriff's Office he had been in a relationship with Oleh Makarenko for roughly nine months prior to the attack.
The victim said Makarenko came to him in July 2021 and revealed his father and mother, Yevhen and Inna Makarenko, had learned of their relationship. The victim said Makarenko further claimed "his father was now treating him poorly and not accepting him, and his mother was forcing him to marry a woman."
The victim said he knew trouble was brewing when Oleh asked for his address a few weeks later even though he had been there many times previously. Early the next morning Oleh came to the victim's home, but when the victim went to open the gate he was met by the Makarenko family. He claimed Oleh looked nervous and shouted for him to "Go inside!"
Upon hearing the warning, the victim tried to run away but said he was attacked brutally inside his home by the father and brother as Oleh and his mother watched. At one point during the attack, the victim turn to look at the mother and allegedly said "Unfortunately, your son is gay."
The report said one of the attackers grabbed an unknown object which was used to strike the victim in the face. He fell to the ground and feigned he was dead to stop the assault. His body was not discovered until 3 p.m. the following day by deputies who saw the door open and investigated while responding to an unrelated call in the area.
The victim said he initially told police he had fallen after drinking alcohol, but later admitted he lied to protect Oleh. However, the attack has now left the victim blinded for life.
Broward prosecutors last week announced the arrests of Oleh, Yevhen, and Inna Marakenko and formally charged them 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 and all now face life in prison. A second son, Vladyslav Makarenko, 25, was detained in Alabama and transferred to Broward County last week where he also faces charges for his alleged role in the attack.
Marakenko's fiance, Christina Herman, attended a court hearing in the case yesterday, and used the occasion to defend the accused to reporters in attendance.
"I don't believe it at all, I have proof," Herman said tearfully. "I wear a ring which is an engagement and one kind of marriage ring. I know Alex has his ring in jail. That is proof to me. I know we are in a relationship."
Mike Glasser, attorney for the Makarenko family, dismissed the charges as baseless and unsupported by the facts.
"Thus far, there's really been scant and borderline nothing remotely compelling that points to this family having anything to do with this poor guys injuries," Glasser told WFOR in an earlier interview.