A Spanish judge has ruled the death of John McAfee was a suicide.
McAfee, the controversial cybersecurity pioneer who died in a Spanish prison cell in June while awaiting extradition to the United States on federal charges of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion, ended his own life, according to a judge at a court in Martorell, a city outside Barcelona. The ruling late last week confirmed the findings of the original autopsy.
MarketWatch reported Feb. 2 that a court had still not made a ruling more than seven months after McAfee’s death, part of an impasse over his remains that have kept them in a prison morgue freezer. McAfee’s daughter, Jen, requested that her father’s remains be cremated and returned to the U.S., while McAfee’s ex-wife, Janice, maintains he was murdered. Janice, who is thought to be still in Spain, immediately appealed the decision to a higher court, according to a lawyer involved in the case.
Joy Athanasiou, the lawyer representing McAfee’s daughter Jen, said she hopes to meet with Javier Villalba, Janice’s McAfee’s lawyer, on Monday to discuss the case. She had no timetable on when the higher court will rule on Janice McAfee’s appeal, nor when his body might be moved from the morgue where it has remained since his death.
“At this point, we don’t really know much aside from the ruling,” Athanasiou told MarketWatch. “It’s been a long, strange process.”
John McAfee, 75, whose latter life was marred by bizarre behavior and serious accusations, launched the world’s first commercial antivirus software with McAfee
in 1987, though he has not been actively involved with the company since the mid-1990s. He was investigated in a murder of an American living in Belize in 2012, and returned to the U.S. before landing in trouble with Justice Department officials for what they contend was a pump-and-dump scheme involving cryptocurrency. He was arrested in October 2020 at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, and was found dead in his prison cell on June 23, 2021.
His death has been a focus of macabre speculation. A letter was found inside his pocket — it read, in part, “I am a phantom parasite. I want to control my future, which does not exist” — but Janice McAfee said the handwriting was suspect and disputed her ex-husband had written the note.
Jen, who asked that her last name not be used out of concern for her family’s safety, has maintained the handwriting was her father’s and that he was suicidal in his final days.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text HELLO to 741741.