May 20, 2024

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Equality opinion

Law enforcement arrest guy in 2016 killing of prominent Dallas lawyer Ira Tobolowsky

A male investigators focused on right away immediately after the slaying of distinguished Dallas legal professional Ira Tobolowsky just about six decades in the past was arrested Wednesday in Florida on a funds murder cost in link with his loss of life.

Tobolowsky’s system was uncovered in the burning garage of his North Dallas dwelling in Might 2016. A Dallas police spokeswoman refused to say what evidence prompted the arrest of 61-year-aged Steven Aubrey so lengthy immediately after law enforcement to begin with questioned him about the case.

The remains of a fire at the home of Ira Tobolowsky, a longtime civil lawyer, along Kenshire...

Aubrey was booked into the Broward County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail, according to jail information. It was unclear no matter if he experienced an attorney.

Aubrey beforehand denied involvement in the killing. He was involved in a legal dispute with Tobolowsky at the time of the lawyer’s death. Tobolowsky’s family members pointed fingers at Aubrey for several years. But until this 7 days, no one had been arrested in the circumstance.

Steven Aubrey
Steven Aubrey

Tobolowsky’s relatives could not quickly be reached for comment.

Tobolowsky, 68, was found dead soon after firefighters extinguished a blaze at his residence in the 7400 block of Kenshire Lane. Authorities established an individual had begun the fire deliberately. Police spokeswoman Kristin Lowman stated Wednesday that Aubrey assaulted Tobolowsky in his garage, poured gasoline on him and then established him on hearth.

The medical examiner’s workplace dominated his dying a murder and claimed he died of blunt force injuries, smoke inhalation and burns. A research-warrant affidavit had discovered that detectives suspected that somebody drilled holes into the lawyer’s fence to spy on him.

The remains of a fire at the home of Ira Tobolowsky, a longtime civil lawyer, along Kenshire...

Instantly following Tobolowsky’s dying, Dallas law enforcement interviewed Aubrey and Brian Vodicka and searched their houses, but they weren’t accused of a criminal offense. Vodicka, who could not be reached for comment, was not arrested Wednesday and police have not accused him of wrongdoing. Tobolowsky experienced represented Aubrey’s mother in a authorized dispute with her son. Vodicka, a attorney in a marriage with Aubrey, represented Aubrey.

Tobolowsky submitted a defamation accommodate in opposition to the two, accusing Aubrey of employing “intentional lies, fraud, defamatory statements and ‘dirty tricks’” to get him to halt representing Aubrey’s mom and stated that Vodicka attacked Tobolowsky’s integrity.

Ira Tobolowsky
Ira Tobolowsky

Tobolowsky claimed in a civil complaint that Aubrey openly called his fight with his brother and mother “jihad.” In his response, Aubrey compared Tobolowsky to “an ISIS butcher,” referring to the Islamic militant team.

The lawsuit received further consideration immediately after Tobolowsky’s killing. The choose presiding above the case was offered additional protection and afterwards stepped down, indicating it may possibly be connected to the lawyer’s slaying. After Tobolowsky’s loss of life, his loved ones was awarded $5.5 million in the match.

In past interviews with The Dallas Morning News, Aubrey and Vodicka denied acquiring any function in Tobolowsky’s slaying. They stated they experienced never been to Tobolowsky’s home.

The two also sued the parent business of The Information more than coverage of Tobolowsky’s slaying ahead of abruptly dropping the lawsuit in 2017. Property records demonstrate Aubrey and Vodicka personal a dwelling in Broward County.

“Do we believe that the police are even now fascinated or investigating us? I actually hope not for the reason that there is not one particular factor that connects me to that heinous crime other than the reality that I was in a lawsuit with this male,” Aubrey explained to The Information. “I hope they’ve moved on, but I don’t know.”

Each guys instructed police ought to search into other folks with whom Tobolowsky carried out company.

“Ira Tobolowsky experienced all sorts of business dealings,” Aubrey claimed at the time. “Somebody is unhappy about some thing.”

Florida court docket records show that Aubrey submitted for a restraining get towards one particular of Tobolowsky’s sons in June 2017, accusing Michael Tobolowsky of stalking and threatening him. A judge denied the request, ruling that Aubrey’s allegations did not constitute stalking.

Very last yr, Aubrey tried to lawfully improve his title to Steven B. King, claiming that he and Vodicka had been “mistakenly linked to a significant-profile law enforcement investigation” and that adverse publicity had afflicted his ability to generate a living. He appealed right after a judge rejected the identify adjust to reduce Aubrey from evading his collectors.

Aubrey was arrested in 2016 on a prostitution charge. That scenario is even now pending, according to court docket documents.

A properly-appreciated attorney

Tobolowsky was a properly-preferred attorney who came from a prestigious Dallas household that has been energetic in the Jewish local community and the lawful career. His cousin is condition District Judge Emily Tobolowsky. He is also connected to actor and director Stephen Tobolowsky and College of North Texas professor Peggy Tobolowsky, who is also a life span trustee of the Dallas Jewish Neighborhood Basis.

Jonathan Tobolowsky (from left) and brothers Michael and Zachary held a news conference at...
Jonathan Tobolowsky (from remaining) and brothers Michael and Zachary held a news convention at Dallas police headquarters to provide a reward for info about the murder of their father, Ira Tobolowsky.(The Dallas Early morning Information)

Tobolowsky as soon as effectively argued a scenario before the U.S. Supreme Court docket. His funeral drew virtually 1,000 persons to Congregation Shearith Israel.

Tobolowsky’s liked types searched for solutions in the killing for yrs. In 2019, they presented a $20,000 reward for facts about the lawyer’s loss of life. They also filed a petition to get police investigative files in the scenario, and Dallas town and county officials later on sought to block the courtroom-requested release.

His friends reported he experienced endured from a lifelong persistent issue that created it tricky for him to wander, incorporating that he would have been not able to protect himself.

“Our father was usually the male who guarded some others,” his son, Michael Tobolowsky, explained in 2016. “We sense like it is our convert to action up and do everything we potentially can to attempt to assistance the law enforcement obtain the information and facts they want to discover the particular person who did this to our dad.”

Mark Hefflefinger, a household good friend and decadeslong officemate of Ira Tobolowsky, stated Wednesday that “everyone is just quite emotional” and wishes to know what took place to their father, partner and good friend.

“It’s great news to most people,” Hefflefinger said. “Everybody wants the truth of the matter.”

Hefflefinger remembered going to Rangers baseball video games with Tobolowsky and other fond reminiscences. He mentioned the very last six years have been filled with enormous loss, disappointment, anger and confusion, but explained that “hope” may possibly be forward.

“Everybody misses Ira,” he reported. “He was a single of a sort.”

The sons of slain Dallas attorney Ira Tobolowsky: Jonathan (from left), Michael and Zachary.
 Debbie and Ira Tobolowsky with their friend Randee Hefflefinger at a Texas Rangers game....