Lawyer: John McAfee to be freed in Guatemala

Software company founder John McAfee poses for pictures after a press conference outside the Supreme Court in Guatemala City, Dec. 4, 2012. AP Photo/Moises Castillo

GUATEMALA CITYA lawyer for John McAfee says a judge has ordered the software company founder released from a Guatemalan detention center where he has been fighting deportation.

Lawyer Telesforo Guerra says the judge notified him verbally of the ruling, but that it may take a day for formal written notification to win McAfee's release.

Judge Judith Secaida did not return phone calls on Tuesday seeking to confirm the ruling.

Guerra said Secaida ruled McAfee's detention illegal, ordered him released, and gave him 10 days to put his immigration situation in order.

McAfee was detained last week after he sneaked into Guatemala from neighboring Belize. Police in neighboring Belize want to question McAfee in the fatal shooting of a U.S. expatriate who lived near his home on a Belizean island in November.

Hehas said that he wants to return to the United States with his 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend. Guerra agreed that that would be his best option.

"For me, it's best that McAfee go to the United States, that's definitely the country where he will be safest," Guerra said. "In Guatemala, he runs the risk that anything could happen to him."

McAfee was detained last week for immigration violations after he sneaked into Guatemala from neighboring Belize. He had been on the lam for weeks before that, avoiding Belizean police who want to question him in the fatal shooting in November of a U.S. expatriate, Gregory Viant Faull, who lived near his home on a Belizean island.

McAfee acknowledges that his dogs were bothersome and that Faull had complained about them, but denies killing Faull. Faull's home was a couple of houses down from McAfee's compound in Ambergris Caye, off Belize's Caribbean coast.

McAfee has said corrupt Belizean authorities are persecuting him, something officials in Belize deny.

In a live-stream Internet broadcast Sunday from the Guatemalan detention center where he is fighting a previous government order that he be returned to Belize, the 67-year-old said he wants to return to the United States and "settle down to whatever normal life" he can.

"I simply would like to live comfortably day by day, fish, swim, enjoy my declining years," he said.

McAfee is an acknowledged practical joker who has dabbled in yoga, ultra-light aircraft and the production of herbal medications. He has led an eccentric life since he sold his stake in the software company named after him in the early 1990s and moved to Belize about three years ago to lower his taxes.

He told The New York Times in 2009 that he had lost all but $4 million of his $100 million fortune in the U.S. financial crisis. However, a story on the Gizmodo website quoted him as describing that claim as "not very accurate at all."

Faull's family has said through a representative that McAfee's skillful courting of the media, including blog posts, email messages clandestine interviews, has obscured the main point, that McAfee should submit to police questioning.

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