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Date of Issue: April 01, 2009

Auto theft trial delayed months

Sabine Musil-Buehler, 49
William Cumber III appears in a courtroom in Bradenton Feb. 24 on a violation of probation charge. Islander Photo: Tiffany Tompkins-Condie/Bradenton Herald

The man accused of stealing the car of missing motel owner Sabine Musil-Buehler will not go to trial before August.

Robert Corona, 38, jailed since last November on a charge of grand theft auto, was scheduled for a trial in March, but it was delayed due to changes in Corona’s representation.

Corona had been appointed a public defender and a regional counsel, both of whom had to withdraw from the case because of a conflict.

Both his attorneys have represented another person connected with the case, William J. Cumber III, 39, a potential witness for the state against Corona, as well as a person of interest in Musil-Buehler’s disappearance on Nov. 4 and an arson fire at Haley’s Motel on Nov. 16.

Cumber has said that he has not seen Musil-Buehler since late Nov. 4, when she left a rented apartment they shared in Anna Maria in her car.

The car was found early Nov. 6 by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

An MCSO deputy had tried to stop the driver of the vehicle for a routine traffic violation. The driver sped away and the MCSO gave chase. The driver, identified as Corona, was found hiding under a truck and arrested.

Corona initially said he was given the key to the vehicle to go buy drugs, but later said he found the car, with the key in the ignition, parked at the Gator Lounge on 14th Street West in Bradenton.

Corona is in the Manatee County jail awaiting his trial, which now is tentatively scheduled Aug. 10.

Instead of a trial last week, Corona got assigned a third attorney, special assistant public defender John Pangello.