The victim of an alleged homophobic attack is speaking out with his side of the story, in which his ex-boyfriend and the ex’s family are accused of badly beating him over the relationship. Authorities said the victim lost his eyesight as a result of the attack.
“Because I’m gay, yes,” the man, who was not identified, told Miami-based TV station WPLG in an interview published Thursday. “Because I’m gay, they think I turned his son gay.”
That alleged ex-boyfriend, Oleh Makarenko, 21, now faces charges including attempted murder in the first degree with father Yevhen Makarenko, 43, mother Inna Makarenko, 44, and brother Vladyslav Makarenko, 25. An attorney for the Ukrainian immigrant family has denied there was a relationship, and denied that his clients attacked the man.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office have said that one of their deputies responded to the victim’s apartment complex on Aug. 6, 2021 on an unrelated matter, but came across his front door ajar. The man was lying on the floor—and there was blood and damage around his apartment.
Deputies said the incident left the victim blind.
“Medically there is nothing they can do for me,” the man told WPLG. “The nerves were dead.”
Deputies said he ended up being intubated for approximately three weeks, and was on a feeding tube for approximately three months. Injuries included a concussion, severe bruising and swelling, a misaligned left eye, brain swelling, and a fractured jaw.
“My mom used to depend on me and I’m no longer able to help her,” he told WPLG. “I honestly don’t know how I am able to keep it together.”
But the man did not tell deputies last August about the beating, according to documents. He went to the hospital after telling deputies he was drinking alcohol and fell down. A deputy asked again, but he repeatedly said he fell down.
“Over the course of the next few months, [the victim] was unable to provide any suspect or further information on this case due to not being able to remember what occurred,” authorities said.
He only stepped forward with the allegations in February, saying he regained his memory of the incident, deputies said. The man later said he told deputies about falling because he did not want to get Oleh in trouble, authorities said.
A defense attorney is using the passage of time between August and February to deny allegations.
“Many, if not all of them, didn’t even know this person in any way, shape, or form,” Makarenko attorney Michael Glasser has told WFOR. “Thus far, there’s really been scant, and borderline nothing, remotely compelling that points to this family having anything to do with this poor guy’s injuries.”
The Makarenkos, including Oleh, allegedly attacked the man in his apartment after the family discovered the gay relationship, which stretched from November 2020 to the alleged attack. Toward the end of July 2020, Oleh and the man allegedly did not speak for two weeks after getting into an argument.
“During this time, [the victim] logged onto his laptop, which Oleh had previously used,” deputies wrote. “[He] then located text messages from Oleh’s mother, Inna Makarenko. The text message which were sent to Oleh, stated that Oleh’s [father] found out that he was a homosexual and had a boyfriend. [The victim] then made phone contact with Oleh who advised him that his father was now treating him poorly and was not accepting him. He also advised that his mother was going to force him to marry a woman.”
[Booking photos via Broward County Jail]
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