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Date of Issue: February 25, 2009

Corona's defense attorney to change

/1-7-09/haleys-musil-buehler-mug.jpg
Mosil-Buehler, 49

The man accused of stealing the car of missing motel owner Sabine Musil-Buehler is getting a new defense attorney.

Robert Corona, 38, jailed since last November on a charge of grand theft auto, has been represented by assistant public defender Patrick Kane.

Last week, a circuit court judge approved a public defender’s motion to be dismissed from the case because of a conflict.

Corona was represented by the public defender’s office, which has previously represented William J. Cumber III, 39, who is a potential witness in the Corona case, 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.

A motion to be dismissed from the case signed by Kane stated, “State’s witness in this case is a former client of the public defender and an aspect of the witness’ credibility or character may be at issue.” Next to the statement was William Cumber’s name and several case numbers.

Cumber is Musil-Buehler’s boyfriend and he has said they had an argument Nov. 4 at the Anna Maria home she rented. Cumber said Musil-Buehler left in her car and he has not seen her since.

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.

Eventually, according to an MCSO report, the driver, identified as Corona, was found hiding under a truck and arrested.

Authorities have said they do not believe that Corona knows Musil-Buehler.

He 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 is tentatively scheduled for next month.

Cumber also is in the Manatee County jail on a charge unrelated to the Musil-Buehler case. He is awaiting a hearing for allegedly violating probation on a 2005 arson conviction.

Cumber also recently was assigned a new attorney due to a conflict in his case.

Meanwhile, investigators continue their work on the Musil-Buehler disappearance and the motel fire.

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