The mother of a family accused of beating a gay man so badly that he was blinded now says her she never even met the victim.
Inna and Yevhen Makarenko and their sons Oleh and Pavel are charged with attempted murder, battery, and kidnapping in the attack, which police say occurred August 6, 2021, at the victim's home in Pompano Beach, Fla. The first three were arrested by Broward County authorities in March and charged in April, and Pavel Makarenko was arrested later in New York. Charges against another son, Vladyslav Makarenko, were dropped because evidence showed he was not in Pompano Beach when the assault took place. The charges carry hate-crime enhancements.
Police and prosecutors say the motivation was that the victim, a 31-year-old man whose name is being kept confidential, had been dating Oleh Makarenko, and that the family did not approve of the relationship. The victim suffered broken bones and other injuries in addition to losing his eyesight.
Inna Makarenko, the mother, recently told Florida TV station WPLG that she has never met the man she is accused of assaulting. "I can't understand why he lied," she said in an interview that aired this week, marking the first time she has spoken publicly about the matter. "I never could understand how people could lie so easily."
She also said she and her family are the only victims in the case and that they have nothing against gay people. "We love everyone; we are Christian," she said.
Vladyslav Makarenko has denied the family's involvement as well and denied knowing the victim. "Just because someone who you've never even met said something about you, they are going to arrest you tomorrow and put you in jail for like, months," he told Miami's CBS affiliate last month. "Not only you but all of your family. How would you feel?"