WASHINGTON – Anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee, wanted by authorities in Belize, has come out of hiding to insist he did not kill his neighbor or hire someone to do the crime.
“I will certainly not turn myself in, and I will certainly not quit fighting,” McAfee told CNN on Friday in his first on-camera interview since going on the run from Belizean authorities. “It hasn’t been a lot of fun. I miss my prior life. Much of it has been deprivation. No baths, poor food.”
Police say they simply want to question the 67-year-old about the murder of fellow American Gregory Faull, a Florida native who was found dead at his home last month in a pool of blood on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye.
A police report said that Faull, 52, was shot in the back of the head. There were no signs of a break-in, and a laptop and cell phone were missing.
McAfee says he fears for his life and is fleeing authorities with whom he has been at odds ever since refusing to make a donation to a local politician’s campaign.
The Internet security guru only agreed to the CNN interview after a series of cloak and dagger steps that involved middle-men, telephone calls with different numbers and a meeting at a safe house that required a secret phrase and response, according to the television network.
McAfee said he is so fearful that he carries up to a dozen disposable cell phones at a time, and estimates he has gone through 200 of the devices since fleeing nearly a month ago.
He has launched a blog, whoismcafee.com, to counter what he sees as erroneous claims by the media or authorities about him.
“I’m going to fight until something changes,” McAfee said, declining to indicate how long he would remain in hiding.
McAfee predicted the saga would only end with his arrest or if he manages to elude corrupt officials.
“Get away doesn’t mean leave the country,” he said. “It means they will, number two, find the murderer of Mr. Faull and, number two, the people of this country — who are by and large terrified to speak out — start speaking out.”
McAfee claims that someone poisoned four of his dogs, and that he shot each in the head to put them out of their misery and buried them on his property. On his blog, McAfee said that another one of his dogs was poisoned while police raided his home.
The dogs’ barking and aggressive behavior are said to have been a cause of friction between McAfee and Faull.
McAfee, who made millions when he sold his anti-virus software company in the early 1990s, has been living in Belize for the past four years.
In a separate investigation, police searched McAfee’s mansion earlier this year looking for weapons and drugs, and detained him for several hours.