Software company founder John McAfee denies he killed a neighbor in Belize but says he won't turn himself in for questioning because he fears a police anti-gang unit wants to kill him.
Belize police have said they want to question McAfee, who they describe as a "person of interest" in the slaying of fellow American Gregory Viant Faull. Faull, 52, was shot to death over the weekend on the Caribbean island where both men lived.
McAfee told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Thursday that he is in hiding with a young woman somewhere in Belize. He says he is unarmed and has been changing locations frequently to stay one step ahead of police.
In recent days the software company founder has extended himself to various media, and has even launched his own blog, whoismcafee.com, in which he protests his innocence, attacks Belizean government officials and security forces, and slams journalists who have written critical pieces:
"With lots of time on my hands and very little to do with it, I've been reflecting on the recent detour my life has taken. How did I end up as a murder suspect on the lam?"
Chad Essley, an animator and graphic artist and director of the Portland, Ore.-based Cartoon Monkey, confirmed to CBS News that he set up and hosted the blog for MacAfee, whom he referred to as a friend, but said that McAfee is posting material himself.
In his blog posts McAfee affords special attention to journalist Jeff Wise, who has written about McAfee for National Geographic Explorer, Gizmodo and other outlets."Jeff has made a life work out of smearing my character," McAfee blogged, alluding to alleged indiscretions on the writer's part as a possible reason. "The net result of his stories, however, has made my life appear much darker than the mere 'eccentricity' that most people, including myself, ascribe to me."
Wise, who appeared on "CBS This Morning" last Tuesday, said when he first got to know McAfee, "He was just a larger than life, very charismatic character. Famous, wealthy. The world was really his oyster, and in the five years that I've known him, he's followed a downward trajectory.
"He has some dark aspects to his character, and in a sense, being able to do whatever you want can be a curse at times," said Wise, who added that the last time he met with McAfee he was concerned for his own safety.
Asked what he's capable of doing, Wise replied, "I don't really know what he's capable of doing. He's a very strange man. He's one of these people who the more I've gotten to know him, the harder it is for me to pin (him) down exactly."
McAfee, the creator of the McAfee antivirus program, has led a life of eccentricity since he sold his stake in the anti-virus software company that is named for 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 calling that claim "not very accurate at all."
Of his neighbor, McAfee told the AP that Faull was an "annoyance." He acknowledged he had differences with the dead man, but he denies killing Faull, who was found Sunday morning with a gunshot wound to his head inside his two-story home.
"I barely knew him, I barely spoke ten words to him in the last three years," McAfee said, speaking on a cellphone. "Certainly he was not my favorite person and I was not his."
"He was a heavy drinker and an annoyance. But the world is full of annoyances; if we killed all of our annoyances, there would be nobody left," McAfee said.
The dispute apparently involved several dogs that McAfee kept at his beachside villa and that drew complaints from neighbors. McAfee said that four of his dogs were poisoned late last week, but that he didn't initially suspect Faull of having killed them, though he knew Faull didn't like the dogs.
"He did threaten to shoot them once or twice," McAfee said of Faull, adding that his neighbor was "always angry at them."
Other expat residents of the island of Ambergris Caye, where San Pedro is located, have described Faull, the owner of a construction business in Orlando, Florida, as peaceful and well-liked.
San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero said Faull had given the town council a letter complaining that McAfee's dogs were running loose, chasing cyclists and attacking people, and that McAfee's security guards trespassing on other homeowners' property.
Still, Guerrero said there wasn't enough evidence for him to say McAfee is a suspect.
On Friday McAfee told CNBC that he was avoiding talking to police because when people in Belize are put in jail, "They just simply disappear," he said.
McAfee also told the AP Thursday that he feared that Belize's Gang Suppression Unit - a paramilitary-style squad accused of rough treatment, which raided another property McAfee owns in Belize last April - would beat him and that he would later die in custody.
"I am innocent of everything that they're accusing me of, except probably foolishness for staying here in the country, although I still intend to stay," McAfee added. "I'm not going to leave this country. I love this country. This is my home."