December 12, 2012, 10:09 AM —
REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez
Fugitive antivirus pioneer John McAfee could soon be released from detention in Guatemala where he is being held on charges that he entered the country illegally in an attempt to escape authorities in Belize where he is wanted for questioning in connection with a murder.
The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday quoted McAfee's lawyer Telesforo Guerra as saying that a Guatemalan judge had ruled that McAfee's detention was unlawful and that he was entitled to a period of up to 10 days to straighten out his immigration status.
According to the lawyer, McAfee could be released by Thursday or Friday. He is expected to file a petition seeking an immediate return to the U.S., the Times quoted Guerra as saying.
McAfee's supporters greeted news of his rumored release from detention in Guatemala with enthusiasm. On a blog site run by McAfee supporters, several expressed relief at the latest development and hoped that the former tech guru would soon arrive back in the U.S.
"We weren't gonna let you go back to Belize John!!!!!," one poster commented on the website . "We are HERE with you."
If McAfee's motion to return to the U.S is granted, it would be a major reprieve for the 67-year old McAfee. The millionaire founder of the eponymously named antivirus software company has been running from police in Belize ever since his neighbor, Gregory Faull, a fellow American, was found shot to death in his home on Nov. 10. McAfee and Faull are rumored to have had a disagreement over several guard dogs that McAfee owned.
In media interviews while on the lam, McAfee maintained his innocence and claimed that he had nothing to do with Faull's death. He consistently maintained that he would be harmed and possibly killed if he were to surrender to Belize police.
Law enforcement authorities in Belize, and even the country's prime minister, have dismissed McAfee's claims as that of a paranoid and delusional individual. They have insisted that McAfee is not a suspect in the murder and is only a person of interest in the case.