The investigation of the 2016 murder of Dallas attorney Ira Tobolowsky is not over, even though prosecutors dismissed charges against the prime suspect Friday.
Steven Aubrey was to stand trial beginning this month, 8 years after the killing.
Criminal defense attorney Bob Hinton, a long-time Tobolowsky friend, said the victim’s family deserves a better outcome from this case.
“I’m not trying to be disrespectful to the Dallas Police Department but it got dropped. It just got dropped. I know they’re overworked and underpaid but this was a significant capital murder case in this community,” Hinton said. “I think we’ve got the finest Chief of Police we’ve had in a long, long time. This didn’t happen under his watch. But earlier, the investigators, detectives assigned to this case, let it go cold.”
In a court record about evidence from the May 13, 2016 crime, police said the victim was beaten, doused with gasoline and set on fire with a torch in the garage of his North Dallas home.
“I tried a lot of murder cases in my 50 years of practice and I’ll tell you, there’s a lot to this case,” Hinton said.
Tobolowsky’s sons sought justice for their father who walked with a limp from spine problems.
“From the second he walked into the courtroom he was underestimated. And you could almost feel this sense of confidence oozing from the other side the second he started speaking,” he said.
Six years after the crime, with a new Dallas detective leading the investigation, police arrested Steven Aubrey.
He had been suspected all along with a revenge motive for Tobolowsky’s work helping Aubrey’s mother remove her son from his inheritance.
Evidence connected Aubrey to holes in a fence supposedly drilled to spy on Tobolowsky.
“He was an easy target once he got out of the house and into the garage. And they saw him through the hole in the fence and they knew when to do, what to do and how to do it. And they did it with impunity. And got away with it so far,” Hinton said.
Aubrey’s partner was mentioned in the police report but was not charged with the crime.
Friday, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot signed a court document that said “…the State respectfully requests that this case be dismissed for further investigation.”
Hinton said there is no statute of limitations on homicide and prosecutors can file another case in the future, but he considers the dismissal a setback.
“There must be something wrong with the case from the Dallas Police side of it because Creuzot wouldn’t do this if there wasn’t real good reason to do it,” Hinton said.
Steven Aubrey walked out of jail Friday, free from the trial that was to begin on January 29, 2024, nearly 8 years after the murder.
Michael Tobolowsky and two attorneys on record for Aubrey did not return messages Tuesday.
A Dallas Police spokesman confirmed the investigation is ongoing.