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McAfee to testify in Belize wrongful death suit

Eccentric anti-virus guru denies involvement, agrees to appear in Florida court

John McAfee has agreed to testify in a Florida lawsuit claiming his involvement in a fatal shooting in Belize last year.
John McAfee has agreed to testify in a Florida lawsuit claiming his involvement in a fatal shooting in Belize last year.

Anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee yesterday said he would not fight a subpoena to testify in a wrongful death lawsuit brought against him by the estate of his American neighbour in Belize, Reuters reported.

Gregory Faull, 52, a contractor and restaurant owner from Orlando, Florida, died of gunshot wounds in November 2012. Belize law enforcement officials had already become interested in McAfee in connection with a number of other issues, including the manufacturing of amphetamines, and witnesses reported regular quarrels between him and Faull. After being named as a murder suspect, 68-year-old McAfee fled Belize.

The lawsuit claims McAfee either shot Faull himself or arranged the shooting using one or both of his former girlfriends, Samantha Vanegas and Amy Herbert, as "agents". The suit is seeking a jury trial and damages over $75,000 on behalf of Faull's 26-year-old daughter.

Tech entrepreneur McAfee has been accused of a number of eccentric performances. Around the same time McAfee fled Belize, Wired journalist Joshua Davis posted a feature online in which he catalogued a six-month investigation into the Virginia-born tax exile. In the article, Davis claimed he conducted an interview with McAfee 12 weeks before Faull's death, in which the software pioneer played a bizarre game of Russian roulette.

"McAfee flicks open the cylinder of his Smith & Wesson revolver and empties the bullets, letting them clatter onto the table between us," Davis wrote. He went on to describe McAfee looking at him with "wide-eyed, manic intensity" while picking up a single bullet and loading it into the five-chambered weapon.

"The muzzle pressed against his temple... he pulls the trigger. Nothing happens. He pulls it three more times in rapid succession. There are only five chambers."

Davis was one of several journalists who became interested in McAfee's antics. After his eccentricity sidelined him from the company he founded, he lived for a time in the US, but by 2009 he had sold most of his properties and moved to his island home in Belize. He came to the attention of the local police, and journalists thereafter, when he began amassing an entourage of bodyguards, young women and dogs. Belize authorities accused him of building a private army and moving into the drugs trade.

After escaping Belize law enforcement, McAfee was arrested in Guatemala on immigration charges and repatriated. He now lives in Portland, Oregon.

"While continuing to grieve, the Faull family intends to pursue all possible avenues to ensure the individual or individuals responsible for the death of Gregory Faull are brought to justice," wrote Florida-based attorney Gary Roberts on behalf of the Faull family.

"They are confident that with the tools available in civil discovery cases in the U.S. federal courts and with the information obtained in the criminal investigation in Belize, the true facts will come to light as to how and by whom Gregory Faull met his end."

McAfee, who maintains a security presence around him for fear of being kidnapped and returned to Belize, said he would file a counter suit against the Faull estate for "defamation of character and personal injury".