Alabama man charged with stalking Clearwater council member Mark Bunker

In October, Bunker received a voicemail from a caller threatening to kill him.
Clearwater City Council member Mark Bunker speaks to citizens during a council meeting on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, at the city's main library.
Clearwater City Council member Mark Bunker speaks to citizens during a council meeting on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, at the city's main library. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published May 15|Updated May 15

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has arrested an Alabama man in connection with death threats made against Clearwater City Council member Mark Bunker last year.

Ricky James Myers, 58, was extradited from Alabama on April 30, booked into the Pinellas County Jail and charged with felony aggravated stalking, according to court records.

The charge relates to a series of phone calls and Facebook messages Myers allegedly sent in October that included threats to kill Bunker and cut off his head, according court filings. Although he is identified only by his initials in an affidavit filed by Clearwater Police Detective Eliad Glenn, Bunker confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times he is the recipient of the threats.

Ricky James Myers
Ricky James Myers [ Pinellas County Sherriff's Office ]

Before he was elected to the council in 2020, Bunker spent 20 years as a critic of the Church of Scientology and has produced dozens of videos documenting alleged abuses by the organization. However, the threats Myers allegedly sent to Bunker do not reference Scientology.

In an interview last year, Bunker told Glenn that he received three calls to his Google voice number on Oct. 19 from an unknown number that he did not answer.

In the first voicemail around 12:22 a.m., a male with a heavy southern accent stated he would “mess up” Bunker’s face and called him a “stupid, fat son of a b----,” according to Glenn’s affidavit. In a second voicemail about two minutes later, without mentioning Bunker by name, the same person stated “I will kill you” and threatened to “cut off” Bunker’s head, according to the affidavit.

In a third voicemail, left around 9:36 p.m. that day, the caller stated he “had business to take care of” without mentioning Bunker by name, the affidavit states.

The caller also stated he was resentful that Bunker “had put him in prison for 17 years.” Bunker told Glenn, the detective, that he has never been involved in anything that could send someone to prison, according to the affidavit.

Three days later, on Oct. 22, Bunker received a series of Facebook messages from a user named “Ricky Myers.”

The sender told Bunker, “U didn’t realize who you were dealing with,” and “I’m getting even, watch and learn.”

Glenn subpoenaed Facebook to get the email address, phone number and Internet Protocol address of the sender of the messages. The cell number on the account matched the number that left the threatening voicemails and was registered to Ricky Myers of Dekalb County, Alabama, according to the affidavit.

At the request of Clearwater police, the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Myers on Nov. 29. According to the affidavit, Myers told Dekalb County authorities he did not know who Bunker was and denied contacting him. He gave the investigator permission to look in his phone, and the investigator found calls to Bunker’s number in his call log, according to the affidavit.

Spend your days with Hayes

Spend your days with Hayes

Subscribe to our free Stephinitely newsletter

Columnist Stephanie Hayes will share thoughts, feelings and funny business with you every Monday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

After his extradition to Pinellas County on April 30, Myers was released the same day on a $50,000 surety bond and has an arraignment on May 22. Myers did not immediately respond to a request for comment left on his phone number identified in court records.

“It’s been surreal,” Bunker said Monday. “It seems like it could be a case of mistaken identity, but after leaving the death threats on my phone, he then went to my Facebook profile so he could see who he was threatening. Death threats against a politician, I think, should be treated seriously.”