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Prosecutors drop charges in Florida attempted murder case

Prosecutors in Florida have announced they are dropping attempted murder and hate crime charges against three members of a family of Ukranian immigrants as they now believe it will not be possible to gain a conviction.

Warning: This story has details of a violent assault which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

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The case began in 2021 when married couple Inna Makarenko, 44, Yevhen Makarenko, 43 and their son Oleh Makarenko, 21 were charged with attempted first-degree murder, battery during the burglary of a dwelling, and kidnapping over the brutal assault on a 31-year-old man.

The victim, a 31-year-old man whose identity has not been made public, said he was in a relationship with the then 21-year-old Oleh Makarenko, who is known as Alex.

The man says that when his partner’s parents found out about the relationship, they became enraged, and they later arrived at his home where he was assaulted. It was alleged that Oleh Makarenko also took part in the attack which resulted in the man suffering a permanent loss of vision.

The crime was not reported until six months after it allegedly occurred.

Initially police also arrested another member of the family, but he was able to prove he was not in the state at the time of the offence, and he was released. In April 2022 the Broward State Attorney’s Office filed hate crime charges against the family members.

Assistant State Attorney Veronica Walker wrote in a memorandum outlining the decision not to prosecute that a crime appears to have been committed, but there is no likelihood of conviction.

The family’s attorney George Palaidis said the Makarenkos were at home when the attack occurred, as prosecutors acknowledged that cellphone records failed to place the family at the crime scene.

Each of the family members spent around five months behind bars, before being released back into the community. In an interview with local media Oleh Makarkenko reflected on the ordeal.

“You know we say innocent until proven guilty, it’s the other way around.” he told television station Local10.

OIP Staff


Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / qlife.org.au (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife are a counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DISCHARGEDinfo@discharged.asn.au / discharged.asn.au
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 / lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 / www.beyondblue.org.au


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