Criminal Justice

Man arrested in lawyer's 2016 murder was opposing litigant in family trust dispute, defamation case

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Police have arrested an opposing litigant in the death of Dallas lawyer Ira Tobolowsky, who was found dead in a suspicious garage fire in May 2016.

Police arrested Steven Aubrey, 61, in Broward County, Florida, on Wednesday, report Law360, the Dallas Morning News, the Washington Post and NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. He is being held on a $2 million bond.

Tobolowsky had died from blunt-force injuries, smoke inhalation and burns.

Tobolowsky was involved in two lawsuits involving Aubrey. In the first, Tobolowsky represented Aubrey’s mother when Aubrey sued her and his brother in a dispute over a family trust. In a second, Tobolowsky filed a defamation suit alleging that Aubrey had tried to get him to quit the case through “intentional lies, fraud, defamatory statements and dirty tricks.”

The defamation case was pending at the time of Tobolowsky’s death. Tobolowsky’s family was awarded $5.5 million in the defamation suit in May 2017. The amount was reduced to $500,000 on appeal, according to Law360.

Aubrey’s partner, lawyer Brian Vodicka, was also a defendant in the defamation case. He has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Aubrey and Vodicka had previously denied any role in the murder in previous interviews with the Dallas Morning News.

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