A Broward man accused of a gay hate crime is speaking out after the charges against him were dropped last week, saying he's relieved to be out of jail and hoping the rest of his family will be next.
Vlad Makarenko had all the charges against him dropped last Thursday but his mother, Inna, father Yevhan, and brothers Oleh and Pavlo Makarenko are still facing immigration holds and charges that include attempted felony murder, kidnapping and battery, records show.
The family is accused of brutally beating a 31-year-old gay man in Pompano Beach last August, leaving him partially blind.
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According to court documents, prosecutors belive the family attacked the man when they discovered he was having a relationship with Oleh Makarenko.
A judge dropped charges and released Vlad Makarenko after his lawyers proved he was out of the state at the time of the attack.
Family attorney Michael Glasser said last week that he hopes the rest of the family will be exonerated soon.
“They didn’t do anything whatsoever to this man,” Glasser said. “They had no idea who this man was until after they were arrested.”
The family came to the U.S. from the Ukraine about six years ago seeking asylum, Glasser said, and these arrests jeopardized that.
Vlad Makarenko said he spent about three months in jail and said his family has been behind bars since they were arrested in March.
"They have no evidence and they’re still accusing us of all this information. Like, what we’re trying to show right now is that all of us are innocent people and what’s going on, we have to make it gone because it’s not the way it should be," Vlad Makarenko said Wednesday. "I believe, I hope, I pray every day so they can get out of there so we can handle the situation from here. We are sorry what happened to this guy but we have no, we’re not connected to him."
The next court hearing for Inna Makarenko is scheduled for Aug. 5.