Story Tools

Date of Issue: July 08, 2009

Trial preparation begins in Corona case

Trial preparations are underway to defend the man accused of stealing missing motel-owner Sabine Musil-Buehler’s car.

Robert Corona, 38, was arrested Nov. 6, 2008, by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies after a pursuit that resulted in the seizure of Musil-Buehler’s car. At the time, it was not known she was missing.

Corona initially was identified as a person of interest in Musil-Buehler’s disappearance, but later MCSO authorities said they suspected he did not know the Holmes Beach woman.

Corona first told authorities he was given the keys to the vehicle to go buy drugs, according to court records. He then said he found the car, with the key in the ignition, behind a 14th Street bar.

Corona, held at the Manatee County jail, has pleaded not guilty to charges of grand theft auto, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license.

He has been scheduled for multiple hearings since his arrest, but has yet to appear in a courtroom at the Manatee County Judicial Center.

Due to repeated conflicts of interest, Corona also has been assigned multiple attorneys that has led to him questioning long delays in his quest for a speedy trial.

The trial is scheduled to take place the week of Aug. 10, but a hearing in late July will determine whether the parties are ready to go before a jury.

In late June, Corona’s public defender filed a notice of plans to depose seven potential witnesses in the case, including four MCSO deputies and investigators.

Authorities failed to deliver one subpoena, which was addressed to William J. Cumber, Musil-Buehler’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, and sent to 208 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, where Cumber lived and Musil-Buehler’s last confirmed whereabouts. Cumber has said on the night of Nov. 4, 2008, he and Musil-Buehler argued and she left in her car. She has not been seen since.

Cumber vacated the Magnolia Avenue residence last fall and his current address is a prison cell. In May, Cumber was sentenced to 13.5 years in prison after pleading guilty to violating probation on a 2005 arson conviction that stemmed from a house fire in Bradenton.

In late December 2008, he was arrested for driving on a suspended license in Marion County. After pleading guilty to the traffic offense and serving 10 days in the Marion County Jail, Cumber faced a charge in Manatee County of violating his probation because he left the county without permission from his probation officer and committed a new offense.