SAN PEDRO, Belize - John McAfee, the multimillionaire software developer and American ex-pat now on the lam in this tiny Central American nation, emphatically says he didn't kill his neighbor over a noise complaint.
"I'll be frank, I was not fond of Mr. Faull," he told USA TODAY in a telephone interview, referring to Gregory Faull, his neighbor found dead with a gunshot wound to the head on Nov. 11. Faull, 52, also from the U.S., had made several complaints about McAfee's dogs, which were later poisoned to death.
McAfee says Faull "was not anywhere near my list of people who angered me. ... He was just a neighbor annoyed with barking dogs."
"I've spoken perhaps 50 words to Mr. Faull over the past five years," he said.
McAfee, 67, has been in hiding since Faull's body was found. National Belize Police press officer Raphael Martinez said Monday that McAfee is not a suspect but that he is a "person of interest" and that police want to question him.
McAfee said he is still in Belize but would not reveal his whereabouts. Over the weekend, he started a blog called Whoismcafee.com in which he described coloring his beard and hair almost white and darkening his skin with shoe polish while on the run with a girlfriend. In a bizarre twist, he told other media outlets on Friday that he was still at his house.
Police did not find him Saturday when they searched his compound, which consists of a main house and almost a dozen smaller shacks. "We're still waiting for him to come in," Martinez said Monday.
McAfee said he does not want to turn himself in because he believes that the police will kill him. He referred to the case of suspected gang leader Arthur Young, who was allegedly shot and killed while in police custody in April.
"They want me to turn myself in for questioning just like they asked Arthur Young to turn himself in. He turned himself in and he was killed," McAfee said.
McAfee and Faull had beachfront houses about 300 yards away from each other in northern Ambergris Caye, a tiny enclave about 6 miles from the town of San Pedro that is home to many American ex-pats.
San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero said that about a month before the murder, he had received a written complaint from Faull about McAfee. Faull had said that McAfee's dogs were too loud, that there was too much vehicle traffic on McAfee's property in a town where golf carts and bikes are the main mode of transportation, and that McAfee's bodyguards had trespassed on Faull's property.
Guerrero said he looked into the matter briefly but that his schedule didn't permit him to resolve it.
Days before the murder, four of McAfee's dogs were found poisoned. Martinez said that when police went to McAfee's property to investigate, the dogs had already been buried.
McAfee said that an apparently intoxicated Faull had threatened to shoot the dogs recently. But he said he does not believe Faull killed his dogs because Faull was also a dog owner. "No dog lover would tolerate seeing a dog suffer," he said.
He said he believes police were responsible for his dogs' deaths. "I'm sorry to sound paranoid but I really do," he said.
McAfee has had previous run-ins with police. In April, they raided another one of his properties and accused him of running a meth lab. McAfee said he was handcuffed and denied food and water for 14 hours during the raid.
"His house was raided but he was never charged of wrongdoing," Martinez said.
McAfee said he doesn't drink alcohol or do drugs.
"I have not done drugs for 33, 34 years," he said. "I am very opposed to the use of drugs."
McAfee said police are after him because he did not contribute money to the ruling party in government.
"I do not play by the rules," he said. "Rich foreigners are expected to pay their dues here and that is to donate to the ruling party. I choose to not do that."
Martinez denied that police would harm McAfee.
"He says all sorts of strange stuff and this is just one of them," he said. "It's totally unfounded as far as I'm concerned, and it's ridiculous. We don't go around just killing people randomly around here. This is not that type of government."
McAfee was known to have many guns on his property. He surrounded himself with bodyguards and pretty women. Neighbors said he was charming and generous when he first moved to the island about five years ago but that he had recently grown more paranoid and unstable.
McAfee said he is not mentally unstable. "I don't feel crazy," he said.
McAfee said he plans to stay in Belize and keep blogging as long as he can. "This is my home," he said.