The 12th Judicial Circuit Court last week reset a hearing in the case of William J. Cumber, charged with second-degree murder in the case of a missing Anna Maria Island woman.
To manage what is expected to involve voluminous pre-trial discovery, the court set April 17 for attorneys to report on case discovery and trial preparation, and possibly set a trial date.
Cumber is accused of killing Sabine Musil-Buehler, who he shared an apartment with in Anna Maria and who went missing in November 2008.
On Jan. 15, assistant State Attorney Art Brown filed a four-page synopsis of items given to Cumber’s attorney, Carolyn Schlemmer, including witness statements, polygraph reports, crime scene contamination logs, consents to search and phone records. In December 2012, he filed a one-page list of people who may have evidence pertaining to the case.
Schlemmer is expected to reciprocate with similar disclosures.
Brown said he expects the defense to take a number of depositions in preparing the case.
Musil-Buehler had lived with Cumber in the 200 block of Magnolia Avenue, Anna Maria, when she was discovered missing Nov. 6, 2008. She and her estranged husband, Tom Buehler, owned and operated Haley’s Motel in Holmes Beach.
An MCSO investigation began that day with a traffic stop of Musil-Buehler’s car being driven in Bradenton by Robert Corona. Deputies checked the car registration and began looking for Musil-Buehler. They interviewed Tom Buehler, who told them his estranged wife was missing. He then filed a missing person’s report.
An MCSO detective spoke to Cumber the same day in the Magnolia Avenue apartment, and became suspicious after smelling bleach during the interview.
On Oct. 15, 2012, Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube announced Cumber’s arrest for his girlfriend’s murder. Two days later he pleaded not guilty and filed a demand for a jury trial.
Cumber is being held in the Manatee County jail without bond. He was serving time related to a previous arson case and parole violation at the time of his arrest.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.
The case management hearing is set for 9 a.m. before Judge Thomas Krug in 6A at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.