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3 family members face hate crimes charges in attack that left gay man blind in Pompano Beach, Florida

Hate crimes charges in attack on gay man
Prosecutors: 3 face hate crimes charges in attack on gay man in Florida 02:46

Florida prosecutors said they filed hate crime charges Tuesday against three family members accused of severely beating a man because of his sexual orientation. 

Inna Makarenko, 44; Yevhen Makarenko, 43; and Oleh Makarenko, 21; were each charged with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling and kidnapping, according to the Broward State Attorney's Office. All three face possible life sentences.

The three family members broke into a Pompano Beach home last August and beat a 31-year-old gay man so badly that he has become permanently blind and sustained other serious injuries, prosecutors said.

CBS Miami, citing the arrest forms, reported the attack was premeditated.

"They secretly, forcibly or by threat abducted or imprisoned the victim against his will… to terrorize him," the forms say. They go on to say the three "struck the victim numerous times… causing serious bodily injury and disfigurement, almost resulting in his death."

Officials haven't released many details about the attack in order to protect the victim's privacy, but prosecutors have confirmed that the Makarenkos knew the victim before the attack and specifically targeted him because he is gay.

CBS Miami's Karli Barnett went to the Makarenkos' home.  Someone answered the door, identifying himself as a family friend, but did not agree to talk on camera.

On the mailbox, there were taped signs with a QR code saying to "help Ukrainian refugees wrongly jailed."  The code leads to an online petition with 360 signatures. The description reads, in part: "The three arrested family members—mother, father, and son are being accused of severe crimes with multiple charges against them! These could result in a life-in-prison-sentence in the United States or (if even possible) deportation back to Ukraine—where an excruciating war is happening now."

Broward County deputies arrested the group last month, and they're being held without bond.

A fourth person connected to the attack was transferred from Alabama to the Broward County jail on Monday, prosecutors said. No charges were immediately filed.

Defense attorneys for the three people charged didn't immediately responds to emails seeking comment from The Associated Press.

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