(JTA) — The “suspicious” fire that killed a longtime civil rights lawyer from a prominent Jewish family in Dallas reportedly may have been revenge by a client or former client.
Ira Edwin Tobolowsky, 68, was found dead in his garage on Friday morning in a blaze that fire officials are calling “suspicious in nature,” according to The Dallas Morning News.
Tobolowsky’s body had been doused with some kind of fuel and set alight, the Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA reported Monday, citing unnamed sources. The case has been turned over to Dallas Fire-Rescue’s arson investigators. Investigators reportedly believe a client or former client may have taken revenge. Tobolowsky’s law partner, Faith Burk, told WFAA that he had recently been involved in contentious litigation.
Tobolowsky comes from a family active in the Dallas Jewish community. Among his well-known family members are his cousin, state District Judge Emily Tobolowsky; actor Stephen Tobolowsky, who has appeared in films such as “Groundhog Day” and on television; and University of North Texas professor Peggy Tobolowsky, a lifetime trustee of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Tobolowsky was a father of three; his son’s wedding reportedly is scheduled to take place in two weeks.
Other family members were home at the time of the blaze. Paint and other accelerants were stored in the garage leading to the explosive fire, according to Fox4.
Following the determination that the fire was suspicious, the Sheriff’s Department increased security for a District Court judge, Eric Moye, due to fears that there may be a connection between a civil lawsuit in his court and Tobolowsky’s death, according to reports.