Alabama man avoids jail for threats against Clearwater council member

Charged with aggravated stalking, he pleads guilty to disorderly conduct for menacing messages sent to council member Mark Bunker.
Council member Mark Bunker is pictured during a City Council meeting at the Clearwater Main Library on Jan. 5.
Council member Mark Bunker is pictured during a City Council meeting at the Clearwater Main Library on Jan. 5. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Nov. 16|Updated Nov. 16

An Alabama man charged earlier this year with felony aggravated stalking of Clearwater City Council member Mark Bunker accepted a plea agreement with Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office for a lesser charge that includes no jail time.

Ricky James Myers, 58, pleaded guilty on Nov. 2 to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and was ordered to pay $1,479 in restitution to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to cover his extradition from Alabama for his arrest. He also faces $500 in fines and costs.

Myers was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on April 30 on the felony stalking charge and released the same day on bond. In the plea agreement, he was sentenced to time served.

State attorney Bruce Bartlett said Myers’ remorse, and Bunker’s blessing for a lesser charge, factored into the plea agreement. Bartlett said Myers wrote a letter of apology explaining that his alcohol problem caused him to act in ways he deeply regretted and did not remember. Myers explained he lived a quiet life, had never been arrested before and hasn’t touched alcohol since the incident, Bartlett said.

“It was kind of a wake-up call for him,” Bartlett said. “I wish I could get that kind of remorse out of half the people in this courthouse.”

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

The case stemmed from a series of phone calls and Facebook messages Bunker received in October 2022, including threats to kill him and cut off his head.

In one voicemail left for Bunker, 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 a Clearwater Police Department affidavit. In a second voicemail two minutes later, the same person stated, “I will kill you” and threatened to “cut off” Bunker’s head, according to the affidavit.

Three days later, Bunker received 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.” Through a subpoena to Facebook, police matched the sender’s email address, phone number and Internet Protocol address to Myers.

At the request of Clearwater police, the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Myers in Alabama in November 2022. According to the affidavit, Myers gave an investigator permission to look in his phone, and the investigator found calls to Bunker in the call log.

Myers could not be reached for comment. His public defender did not return a request for comment.

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Bunker said it was “a little scary” to receive the threats, which is why he reported them to police. But the ordeal was more confusing because he had no connection to Myers. Bunker said the threats also have no apparent relation to his work as a longtime critic of the Church of Scientology.

“I wish I knew what had motivated him to make these threats to begin with,” Bunker said. “I’m just curious about that, but I’m sure what he’s gone through in dealing with this is most likely punishment enough, and I don’t want to make his life more difficult.”