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Watch: Family Denies Beating, Blinding Gay Man

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday August 5, 2022

Inna Makarenko with her son, Vladyslav, and daughter.
Inna Makarenko with her son, Vladyslav, and daughter.  (Source:Screencap/CBS4 Miami)

A Florida family claims that they are not guilty of beating a gay man and leaving him blind, despite the alleged victim's claims, according to CBS News Miami.

Released on a $10,000 bond from an immigration detention facility, Inna Makarenko, who arrived in the U.S. with her family from Ukraine six years ago, told the news outlet that neither she nor her sons and husband had anything to do with the purported attack.

The victim, a 31-year-old man not identified in reports, told authorities that the family broke into his home and attacked him in August of 2021.

But that was not the man's story from the outset. CBS recalled that, "At first, he told police he was drunk and fell down. Then, six months later, he reported he was attacked."

"He was really a victim from August until February," Inna told CBS News. "But in February, when he came to the police and said it was me and my family who beat him, he became a liar, not victim."

Inna, 44, told the media that her family had been "very happy in this country. But our happiness was broken March 10," when her husband, Yehven, 43, and son, Oleh, 21, were placed under arrest in connection with the alleged assault.

Then, CBS reported, "when [Inna] went to the Broward Sheriff's Office to learn what happened, she was arrested, as well."

Inna's son Vladyslav, 25, was also arrested in Alabama, but, the article pointed out, "charges were dropped a few months later when investigators determined he was out of state" when the alleged assault took place.

Inna pointed to this inconsistency, saying, "this person told in his story that my son held him, so can you understand, little by little, open your eyes. Open your ears. This boy's a liar."

As previously reported, the victim claimed he and Oleh had been romantically involved for some time but the family attacked him when the supposed relationship came to light.

The family members were arrested on an array of charges, including attempted murder. The charges were enhanced as hate crimes.

Inna, however, denied any knowledge of any of it. "I never heard about this person," she told CBS, adding that "God loves everyone," and they have nothing against the LGBTQ+ community.

Yehven and Oleh remain incarcerated. The family came to the U.S. seeking asylum. A hearing on their case was scheduled for Aug. 5, the news report noted.

To watch the CBS News clip, follow this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.