Suspected Cyrus stalker is a danger, judge says

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. --- A man charged with trying to stalk teen star Miley Cyrus told an investigator he planned on returning to her Georgia movie set and "finishing things," her security guard told a judge Tuesday.

Municipal Court Judge Steven Scheer refused a request to lower Mark McLeod's $55,200 bond and ruled there was sufficient evidence to send the case to Chatham County State Court.

Judge Scheer said he felt Mr. McLeod, 53, had no chance of getting to the 16-year-old Hannah Montana star because she "can afford the best protection money can buy," but he feared Mr. McLeod might be a threat to others.

Miss Cyrus recently finished filming The Last Song on Tybee Island and in Savannah. Police say Mr. McLeod came to the island three times asking where he could find her.

Robert Merriman, a former Savannah-Chatham County police detective hired by Walt Disney Pictures to protect Miss Cyrus, testified that Mr. McLeod made a taped statement to a sheriff's investigator in Columbia County, where he was arrested at his home Aug. 4.

"He said that he knew the filming was going to be ending soon and he was going to be coming back to Tybee Island and finishing things," said Mr. Merriman, who told the judge that he interpreted the comment as a threat.

James Byrne, Mr. McLeod's defense attorney, said Mr. McLeod is an unemployed assistant plumber and will likely remain in jail because he cannot afford bond. All charges against him are misdemeanors.

"He's been kind of painted as this monster, but he's got a family," Mr. Byrne said. "He's not a danger. What he said I understand was unsettling to a lot of folks ... but it doesn't make him a stalker."

Police say Mr. McLeod told an officer he was engaged to marry Miss Cyrus and she sent him secret messages through her TV show after his first arrest June 22 on charges of disorderly conduct and obstruction of a police officer.