back to article John McAfee is 'liable' for 2012 death of Belize neighbour, rules court

Infosec personality John McAfee has been found legally "liable" via a default judgment for the death of his neighbour, who was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in his Belize home in 2012. The ruling (PDF) was made yesterday in a Florida district court as part of a five-year legal battle by Gregory Faull’s estate …

  1. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Extradiction unlikely

    Mac is an American citizen so he will not be most likely extradited. Isn't it unfair that an American may do such things abroad and be practically immune from criminal persecution while the US wants everybody and his dog extradited from all over the world if it feels its interest were at stake?

  2. asdf Silver badge

    Re: Extradiction unlikely

    We have about as much control over our 1%ers as you all do.

  3. Snowy
    Holmes

    Re: Extradiction unlikely

    The default judgement is because he did not defend the case nothing to do with his guilt or lack of. Also this is not a criminal persecution but a civil one.

  4. muhfugen

    Re: Extradiction unlikely

    Are you daft? You do understand this is a civil case not a criminal one? And since the law enforcement organizations in Belize dropped the charges against him, there is criminal case to extradite him on anyways.

  5. devTrail

    Re: Extradiction unlikely

    "The default judgement is because he did not defend the case nothing to do with his guilt or lack of. Also this is not a criminal persecution but a civil one."

    That's true, but on the other hand he avoided a proper investigation. We got to the point that some people are above suspicion in the sense that it is not possible to subject them to the formal procees that normal people have to withstand.

  6. DaLo

    Re: Extradiction unlikely

    This was a Florida (America) court ruling and (as others have said) a civil one.

  7. John Savard Silver badge

    Re: Extradiction unlikely

    This is true, but the circumstances recounted by the article do indicate very strong grounds for suspicion that McAfee had an involvement in the death of his neighbor of such a nature as to warrant criminal charges. So why hadn't he been extradited back to Belize back then, to be charged with murder and held without bail until his trial?

  8. Danny 14 Silver badge

    dies in Belize and gets sued in USA? Im not a legal expert, is that normal?

  9. MiguelC Silver badge

    yes it is, and the main reason is that a civil case in the US is (potentially) worth a lot more than in Belize

    also, Faull was a fellow american citizen

  10. ma1010 Silver badge

    It makes sense

    dies in Belize and gets sued in USA? Im not a legal expert, is that normal?

    Lots of things can allow a court to have proper venue, irrespective of where the cause of the suit arose. For example, say you and I signed a contract in Colorado for me to do some work for you in Texas, and I live in California. If you felt I'd defaulted, and you wanted to sue me, you could sue me in any of those three states on the grounds of:

    1) Contract entered into there (Colorado)

    2) Contract was to be performed there (Texas)

    3) Defendant resides there (California)

  11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Re: It makes sense

    "1) Contract entered into there (Colorado)

    2) Contract was to be performed there (Texas)

    3) Defendant resides there (California)"

    All very interesting, but as US States, they all come under US law. Belize is a separate and sovereign nation.

    If I travel to Belize and punch another British citizen in the face then travel back to the UK, the UK court system would basically tell the "victim" to piss off if he tried to sue me here.

    The real question here is , if a US citizen breaks either local or US law while outside the jurisdiction of US law, how come he can be sued over it inside the US?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: It makes sense

    "...the UK court system would basically tell the "victim" to piss off if he tried to sue me here."

    Not necessarily. You can do civil claims in the UK for something that happened abroad. See, for instance, the large amounts of libel cases that happen in the UK between two non-UK citizens in a non-UK publication. You can also get criminal prosecution in the UK for acts committed abroad - just ask Gary Glitter.

  13. MonkeyCee Silver badge

    Re: It makes sense

    "The real question here is , if a US citizen breaks either local or US law while outside the jurisdiction of US law, how come he can be sued over it inside the US?"

    Because America feels American law applies worldwide.

    In this case, it's certainly not clear if it can be applied. But it's a civil case, so standards of proof are lower. Hence why OJ was found not guilty of murder, but was successfully sued in civil court for by the victim's family for causing her death.

    Bear in mind that the USA has successfully extradited, prosecuted and jailed people who were not US citizens, who were not in the US and whose crime was not committed in the US and did not involve any US citizens, companies or currency.

  14. Spazturtle Silver badge

    Re: It makes sense

    "while outside the jurisdiction of US law"

    This is a common misconception. Jurisdiction just means where they can enforce the law, not where it applies. US law applies to the whole world, so does UK law and French law, ect. It's just that countries can only enforce it where they have jurisdiction. But if you later enter their jurisdiction they can enforce it on you.

  15. Jon 37

    Re: It makes sense

    > All very interesting, but as US States, they all come under US law.

    No, they all have different state laws although they have common Federal law / Constitution / International law. This may significantly affect how the contract and the alleged breach are treated in court. Think of the US as a more top-heavy version of the European Union - the states still have different laws despite some overall laws.

    > If I travel to Belize and punch another British citizen in the face then travel back to the UK, the UK court system would basically tell the "victim" to piss off if he tried to sue me here.

    It was quite common for a website published in country X to be sued by a company based in country Y for libel in the UK courts, because a UK person might have seen the website and the UK has good-for-the-complainant libel laws. They were talking about fixing that, not sure if they did.

  16. Stork Bronze badge

    Re: It makes sense

    So, if you are the target of one of those libel suits: what happens if you simply ignore it? You may have to avoid going to the UK, but can you enforce a civil ruling in this case?

  17. Insert sadsack pun here

    Re: It makes sense

    You can’t bring a defamation action in England and Wales without something relevant happening in England & Wales. What always ends up happening is that the plaintiff claims that someone in the U.K. read the article (no matter how obscure an issue it is, and despite the subject and author of the article both being outside the U.K.).

  18. mosw

    Re: It makes sense

    " but can you enforce a civil ruling in this case?"

    I assume that winning the civil case would mean being awarding a sum of money to compensate for the loss. So enforcing the judgement would depend on where the defendants assets are. If the assets are in the US they may be able to seize them.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: It makes sense

    If I travel to Belize and punch another British citizen in the face then travel back to the UK, the UK court system would basically tell the "victim" to piss off if he tried to sue me here.

    Channel 5 are doing this next year as a reality TV show.

  20. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Make Sense ..... and IT is as an Almighty Sterling Stirling Engine* ..

    for the Non-Exclusive Use of Plain Anglicised Text Readers/BasICQ AIgents

    If I travel to Belize and punch another British citizen in the face then travel back to the UK, the UK court system would basically tell the "victim" to piss off if he tried to sue me here. .... Jon 37

    You honestly think so, Jon 37? Really? The UK Court System Uninterested in the Tales Told which Present a True Live Virtual Picture Show of Past Deeds and Times in Other Spaces and Earthly Places.

    Imagine the Tales Told for Fact in Future Times Mining Immaculate Spaces ...... with Almighty Refineries in Places of True Need and Virgin Seed ..... Perfecting AI Feed Lines/Augmented Virtual Reality Re-Programming of Unknown Future and All Current Knowing Assets.

    When Worlds are your Oyster, to Gorge on Them is a Passion to be Shared in Similarly Enchanted Company for Vitally Secure Virtual Benefits are Always Freely Shared for Monied Markets Monetisation and ManICQ Manipulation. It's the Crazy Capitalist Way in Early Space Places .... Alien Settlements.

    * ...and Almighty Stirling Sterling Engine too.

  21. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "The eccentric millionaire"

    Translation : the rich fucking loon.

    This is no longer 18th century England, Macafee isn't a Lord and his "exploits" are common knowledge.

    Let's not sugarcoat things, shall we ?

  22. Christian Berger Silver badge

    also "infosec personality"

    McAfee ran a virus scanner business. That's one of those "security in a box" things infosec people regularly warn about.

  23. OssianScotland

    Re: "The eccentric millionaire"

    It is (with apologies to Sir Humphrey) one of many irregular verbs in the English language:

    "I am independent-minded"

    "You are eccentric"

    "He/She is a fucking loon"

  24. Crucial Decimal

    Re: "The eccentric millionaire"

    Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee (2016)

    Filmmaker Nanette Burstein tries to unravel the strange behaviour of John McAfee, who left his life as a software mogul to become a recluse in the jungles of Belize.

    Good stuff.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: also "infosec personality"

    McAfee didn't run a virus scanner business for that long. He sold it off for vast amounts of money, and has spent the rest of his life trying to find something to do with those vast amounts of money rather than just let it drive him slowly mad; and he has failed.

  26. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Re: "The eccentric millionaire"

    One to ponder on the nature and relationship of madness and/or genius with reality/augmented virtually realised shows ….. flash media programs presenting future unfinished projects, which ideally should be considerably smarter than any which have spun tales before? :-)

    Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee (2016)

  27. Jay Lenovo
    Coat

    Terms and Conditions

    Sometimes your moral AV software goes awry and deletes a neighbor.

    Unfortunate, but from now on that neighbor is whitelisted.

  28. zb42

    I'v read the slashdot interview with McAfee where he talked about smuggling drugs through south america, I'm still in awe of his tweet about entering a whale F%!$ing contest but he has topped that now. Failing to defend a civil lawsuit in the USA is the most impetuous thing he has done so far.

  29. Danny 2 Silver badge

    The NYT headline is about Assange

    Off topic, but another mentally different high profile techie is being prosecuted.

    Prosecutors Have Prepared Indictment of Julian Assange, a Filing Reveals

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.html

    We've all enjoyed mocking him but he is correct to stay in the Ecuadorean Embassy for now, albeit having to clean the bathroom and change the cat litter.

  30. MMR

    JMc

    He wasn't just a founder of the McAfee AV, he was the mastermind behind it. He had some great ideas back in the days. Another genius gone mad. Too bad.

  31. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    According to a documentary I just saw there was a bit more pushing and shoving between neighbours* than depicted here.

    The murder also allegedly involved multiple "unnecessary" stun-gun burns on the victim's back, leading to a supposition that he was tortured before being shot.

    The film purported to have found the person wot done it after being paid $5000 from an account owned by the subject of the article.

    I have no idea what the truth is, but I have to say that the youtube screengrab shows that McAffee is capable of producing the most stunning state-of-the-art virtual stately-home class libraries in which to host his blitherfests. Most convincing.

    * - Neighbours who were hundreds of feet apart too. Imagine if they'd been in a terraced road near you.

  32. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

    Re: "than depicted here."

    For various reasons (brevity, legal, etc) we kept it to the court document - if you click through to previous coverage, you'll find some more info.

    C.

  33. Stevie Silver badge

    Re: "than depicted here."

    Understood and no, thanks. The less McAffee in my life, the better, I've found.

    Keep up the good work.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My take on the whole Belize thing

    As someone that owned a home and spent a lot of time in Belize (mostly in San Pedro), here is my opinion of what happened:

    The raid on McAfee's compound on the mainland (I've been there) was punishment for not contributing to some local politicians campaigns. The whole raid severely pissed off McAfee. Remember, he "donated" a bunch of laptops to some senior government officials previously. This being McAfee (and I think he even eluded to it in an interview), I would expect he had backdoor access to all of these laptops.

    After the raid, he decided to make use of some of the dirt he had on the politicians. Or, at least he threatened to. This being Belize, they are even more corrupt than your average dirt-bag politician, so I'm sure there was plenty of material.

    McAfee had a nice beach house in a fairly remote location on Ambergris Caye. There was a report of some guys in black wetsuits that came ashore in the middle of the night on a rubber raft and killed his neighbor. Again, this being Belize, we're not talking navy seals here, just a bunch of goons hired by the politicians that McAfee had by the short hairs. The problem is that they got the wrong gringo. Give them some slack, all of those beach houses must look alike from the water in the middle of the night!

    The last thing McAfee wanted was to end up in the hands of the local police. There had been several cases of suspects "mysteriously" dieing in police custody about this time. McAfee knew what would happen to him if he tried to cooperate.

    When he landed in Miami he was taken off of the plane by FBI agents. The agents interviewed him for a short time, and then offered to drive him to wherever he wanted to go. The only way the FBI would let a murder suspect off the hook like that would have been for him to give them some of the dirt he had on the Belize government, and thus be able to prove he was set-up.

    This is all just my opinion based on pure speculation and my own experiences in dealing with government officials in Belize. I offer it as a possible theory...

  35. Richard Jukes

    Re: My take on the whole Belize thing

    Would that not make him the greatest BOFH ever?

  36. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Re: My take on the whole Belize thing

    IIRC the place is widely referred to as "Sleazy Bélize" despite its most well known inhabitant being the morally irreproachable Michael Anthony P. Ashcroft, Baron Ashcroft, KCMG, PC, former chairman of the equally uncorrupt and morally irreproachable British Conservative Party.

  37. rmason Silver badge

    Re: My take on the whole Belize thing

    That's a lovely story, but it's far more likely that the cocaine addled lunatic shot the guy. IMHO naturally.

  38. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Gangsters R Us

    When what is said is known to be true, what price the cover-up and cost of virtual reality

    Regarding .....

    This being McAfee (and I think he even eluded to it in an interview), I would expect he had backdoor access to all of these laptops.

    After the raid, he decided to make use of some of the dirt he had on the politicians. Or, at least he threatened to. This being Belize, they are even more corrupt than your average dirt-bag politician, so I'm sure there was plenty of material. ... Anonymous Coward

    ... and ....

    IIRC the place is widely referred to as "Sleazy Bélize" despite its most well known inhabitant being the morally irreproachable Michael Anthony P. Ashcroft, Baron Ashcroft, KCMG, PC, former chairman of the equally uncorrupt and morally irreproachable British Conservative Party. .... Voyna i Mor

    Does the FBI then now have considerable dirt on the British Conservative Party/Gangs of Tories? Does it give them unprecedented remote control leverage over such dirt which they can easily use or do they struggle to maximise the opportunity and squander it spectacularly?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    John? Are you reading IT?

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