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Members of a Ukrainian refugee family appeared in a South Florida court on Wednesday.
That’s where they face hate crime and attempted murder charges for an alleged family ambush.
Police say Oleh Makarenko was in a homos*xual relationship for nine months, which would end with his mistress being so brutally beaten by Makarenko’s family that the victim went blind.
Authorities allege that Oleh Makarenko, also known as Alex, was forced by his mother to marry a woman.
“I don’t think so at all, I have proof,” said Christina Herman. “I wear a ring that is an engagement and a type of wedding ring. I know Alex has his ring in jail. That is a test for me. I know we’re in a relationship.”
Herman was crying and said that her 21-year-old fiancé loves her and is the love of her life, and that her family would never beat up a man for being gay.
But police say Makarenko’s family were furious when they learned she had been in a same-s*x relationship for nine months.
On August 6, three members of the Makarenko family broke into the victims’ home, according to police.
A police report stated that “the four suspects continued to hold him down and began punching, kicking and beating him all over his face and body.”
The victim allegedly told Makarenko’s mother: “Unfortunately, his son is gay.”
The victim said that the reason for this attack was because he was homos*xual, because she was dating Makarenko, and the family felt that it made Makarenko homos*xual, according to the report.
Makarenko’s 17-year-old sister believes her family could never do something so horrible.
“They don’t deserve this,” Diana Makarenko said of her family. “No innocent person should go through that.”
A lawyer for the family argues that the victim did not point the finger at the Makarenko family until long after the alleged beating took place.
“He did not implicate this family until seven months after the incident,” attorney Mike Glasser said.
Police said the reason for this is that the alleged victim was afraid and did not want to get Oleh Makarenko into trouble.
This family now faces charges of attempted first degree murder with an aggravated hate crime. All three face possible life sentences.