Software company founder John McAfee listens to a question during an interview at a local restaurant in Guatemala City, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. McAfee, 67, has been identified as a "person of interest" in the killing of his neighbor in Belize, 52-year-old Gregory Faull. Police are urging McAfee to come in for questioning. The anti-virus company founder fled Belize and is seeking political asylum in Guatemala, according to his lawyer Telesforo Guerra. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)AP2012
Guatemala – Software founder John McAfee was released from Guatemala Wednesday and is on his way to the U.S., authorities said.
McAfee was escorted to the Guatemala City airport and was on his way to Miami, Fla.
"I'm free," he told the press."I'm going to America."
Rather than send McAfee to Belize, where he faces criminal charges, Guatemalan officials deported him to the U.S.
"Complying with migration law, Mr. John McAfee is to be deported to his country of origin," said Fernando Lucero, a spokesman for Guatemala's immigration office.
His attorney, Telesforo Guerra, said it was time for McAfee to be let out of jail.
"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."
Judge Judith Secaida ruled that McAfee's detention was illegal.
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, saying he donned disguises to avoid Belizean police who want to question him in the fatal shooting in November of another U.S. expatriate, Gregory Viant Faull.
The victim lived a couple of houses down from McAfee's compound on Ambergris Caye, an island off Belize's Caribbean coast. McAfee acknowledges that his dogs were bothersome and that Faull had complained about them, but denies killing Faull.
McAfee has said corrupt Belizean authorities are persecuting him, something officials in Belize deny. McAfee says he fears for his safety in Belize because he has sensitive information about official corruption that he refuses to donate to local politicians.
In a live-stream Internet broadcast Sunday from the Guatemalan detention center where he was put under the government order that he be returned to Belize, the 67-year-old McAfee 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 point that McAfee should submit to police questioning.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.