McAfee lawyer: He will stay in Guatemala
01:16 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

John McAfee spoke from an immigration detention center in Guatemala City

His bid for asylum was rejected, but a stay of deportation was granted

The 67-year-old Internet security founder explains why he was taken to a hospital last week

"There is no hope for my life if I am ever returned to Belize," he says

CNN  — 

The man is nothing if not mercurial.

John McAfee, the American tech mogul fighting deportation to Belize, where authorities want to question him about the killing of a neighbor, said late Sunday that he wants to return to the United States.

He spoke to reporters via a Ustream video from an immigration detention center in Guatemala City. McAfee emerged in that capital to ask for asylum last week, after weeks of living in hiding. His bid was rejected, but a Guatemalan judge granted a stay of deportation.

“Our intent is to return to America, if at all possible, and settle down to whatever normal life we can settle down to under the circumstances,” said McAfee. “There is no hope for my life if I am ever returned to Belize.”

Authorities in Belize want to talk to the 67-year-old Internet security founder about the November 11 killing of his neighbor, American businessman Gregory Faull.

McAfee said he had nothing to do with the death and insists he left Belize to escape police persecution. He was taken into custody in Guatemala on accusations of entering the country illegally.

“Let me be clear: I had absolutely nothing to do with the murder,” McAfee said. He told reporters he “barely knew the man,” and that they had exchanged maybe 50 words over five years.

“I believed then, and I believe even stronger now that the intent to question me has nothing to do with Mr. Faull’s murder,” said McAfee.

He also explained why he was taken to a police hospital last week, the same day his asylum bid was rejected.

“At 67 years old, well, your health is not the best no matter what. However, it is improving. The problem I had the other day is I did not eat for two days, I drank very little liquids and for the first time in many years, I’ve been smoking almost nonstop. I stood up, passed out, hit my head on the wall, came to in total confusion,” he said. “I am fine now.”

His legal team initially said he was treated for cardiovascular problems, though his attorney later said McAfee suffered a nervous breakdown and that tests had shown he did not have heart issues.

Sunday’s developments are just the latest in a story that reads like a bestselling mystery, complete with murder, poisoned dogs and international intrigue.

McAfee founded his computer security software company, McAfee Associates, in 1987, initially running it from his home in California. Seven years later, he sold his stake in the company. He moved to Belize in 2008.

On November 9, he told police someone poisoned four of his dogs. To put them out of their misery, he shot each in the head and buried them on his property, a former girlfriend said.

The dogs’ barking and aggressive behavior had been a source of friction between the neighbors.

Two days after the dogs were poisoned, Faull’s body was found, fatally shot in the head.

“He’s really gone out of his way to make the country look bad,” Belize police spokesman Raphael Martinez has said about McAfee. “We just believe he should, if he’s innocent as he’s saying he is, he should bring in his lawyer, and let’s get to the bottom of this and say what he needs to say and let’s move on.”

CNN’s Faith Karimi and journalist Miguel Salay contributed to this report.