Prominent Dallas Attorney Was Burned Alive in 2016 — Now Police Say Suspect Was Legal Opponent

Ira Tobolowsky, 68, was found beaten and burned in the garage of his Dallas home

Ira Tobolowsky
Photo: Courtesy Tobolowsky Family/

A Florida man was arrested this week, with authorities alleging he killed a prominent Texas lawyer by dousing him with gasoline and setting him on fire.

Steven Benton Aubrey, 61, is facing charges of capital murder in connection with the May 13, 2016, death of 68-year-old Ira Tobolowsky.

"An investigation determined Tobolowsky entered his garage and was near his car when Aubrey assaulted him, pouring gasoline on the victim, setting him on fire, causing his death," Dallas police said in a statement.

Tobolowsky was getting ready to leave for work when the attack occurred.

The medical examiner concluded that Tobolowsky died from thermal burns, smoke inhalation and blunt force trauma.

Prior to his slaying, police suspected that someone had drilled holes in Tobolowsky's fence to spy on him, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Steven Benton Aubrey
Steven Aubrey. Broward County Sheriff's Office

Police said the two men knew each other and that Tobolowsky represented Aubrey's mother in litigation against her son.

According to the Washington Post, Aubrey had filed a lawsuit against his mother after being removed from her will.

When told by his mother he was being written out, he allegedly responded: "You have three days to change your mind and apologize to me or else. Or else I will make it my mission to make the rest of your life miserable, as you deserve. … I don't know a single mother who would do what you have done. You should never have had children," according to D Magazine.

Aubrey's mother refused to change her mind and hired Tobolowsky, who Aubrey later accused of crimes including bribery and witness tampering. At one point, he likened Tobolowsky to an "ISIS butcher," according to D Magazine.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Tobolowsky later filed a defamation lawsuit against Aubrey and his partner in 2015, the Dallas Morning News reported. The case was still pending when Tobolowsky was murdered, according to the paper.

Police said Aubrey was a person of interest since the start of the investigation.

"Ultimately the information and evidence gathered during the years-long investigation have resulted in making the arrest," according to the police statement.

Aubrey was arrested in Oakland Park, Fla., and is awaiting extradition to Texas.

It is unclear if he has an attorney to speak on his behalf.

Related Articles