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Florida Family Accused of Beating, Blinding Gay Man Appears in Court

Florida Family Accused of Beating, Blinding Gay Man Appear in Court

The alleged victim claims he was having a sexual relationship with one of his attackers.

The Florida family accused of beating a gay man so badly last year that it left him blinded appeared in a court this week.

Husband and wife Yehven and Inna Makarenkjo, and their son Oleh, remained called out the authorities outside of court on Wednesday after asking the judge overseeing their case to appoint public defenders to represent them. The three family members are accused of breaking into the Pompano Beach home of the unidentified man, who claimed he was having a sexual relationship with Oleh, also known as Alex, last August and attacking him, leaving him blind and with other serious injuries.

"The state knows that he's lying. The state knows that they don't have any evidence to support it," Oleh said outside of court on Wednesday. "The only thing they apparently don't know is that we have the evidence to prove our innocence."

The alleged victim, who was 31 at the time, told local Fox affiliate WSVNin May that he was targeted by the family because he had been dating the then-21-year-old Oleh for about nine months.

"He was a little afraid of his family or very afraid of his family," the man told the station. "He was telling me that his dad was treating him like he wasn't even his child, that his mom was trying to force him to marry a girl, and I'm quoting what his mom said to him. She wanted him to force him to marry a girl to 'take all this [expletive] out of his head.'"

The two took a weeks-long break.

Related: Mother of Family Accused of Blinding Gay Man: We're the Victims

After two weeks, the four family members went to the man's apartment and forced their way in, according to the victim. "Alex told me he hated me, and I told them, like, 'Unfortunately, no matter what you do, it's not going to change that your son is gay. I'm sorry, but your son is gay,'" the man said.

He wasn't discovered until the following day by deputies who saw the door open and investigated while responding to an unrelated call in the area, according to local CBS affiliate WFOR. The victim said he initially told police he had fallen after drinking alcohol but later admitted he lied to protect Oleh.

He told police he didn't remember what happened afterward. He says that besides losing his eyesight, he has brain trauma, a blood infection, and broken bones from the attack.

The victim said he feared for his life during the attack.

"Definitely, they were trying to kill me. They were trying to hurt me," he told WSVN. "I was thinking I was going to die, and there's no way I was going to walk out of there alive."

The family denies all allegations and claims the man is lying.

Related: Gay Man Allegedly Beaten, Blinded by Family Speaks Out

Outside of court last Friday, Oleh noted that charges have been dropped against his brother, although the victim gave a sworn statement saying the brother helped in the attack.

"Turned out he wasn't there," Oleh said following a court appearance last Friday according to WSVN. "If that was a lie that was proven and charges were dropped against my brother, what's the probability that everything else in his statement is a lie?"

Judge Ernest Kollra appointed a defense attorney for Inna and Yevehen Makarenko, but has yet to rule on Oleh's request. The case is set to go to trial on January 27.

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