Report: Smoke, burns & blunt force trauma led to local attorney's death

- The Dallas County medical examiner has officially ruled the death of a prominent attorney a homicide.

The newly released medical examiner’s report shows 68-year-old Ira Tobolowsky died of smoke inhalation, burns and blunt force injuries.

Tobolowsky was found dead in the garage of his home after a suspicious fire in May. Shortly afterward, police began looking for an arson and murder suspect.

Steve Schottmer, Tobolowsky's lawyer, told FOX 4 in May an accelerant was found in the garage that shouldn’t have been there. He said his client would not have stored any chemicals or accelerants because he could not physically do labor intensive work.

Schottmer said arson investigators asked him if there was anyone he could think of who had litigation against Tobolowsky or someone who was angry at him. He told them yes.

“The gentleman that I identified had brought a lawsuit against his mother who was the trustee of the family trust,” Schottmer said.

Former Dallas County medical examiner and Forensic Pathologist Amy Gruszecki says determining how someone dies is a long process.

“Just to do the investigation thoroughly, there’s a lot of things that have to happen. They do the autopsy examination,” she explained. “And then second of all, Dallas County does most of their toxicology in-house and that can take two or three months for them to get results to the medical examiner to be able to finalize it.”

What happened to Tobolowsky sent shock waves because attacks on lawyers have not been part of the criminal landscape in Dallas.

“No, that doesn’t happen. It’s a real strange situation,” said Attorney Robert Hinton. “And of course, it would have to happen to the person least deserving of something like that.”

Hinton has been friends with Tobolowsky since high school. He believes the killer or killers will be caught, adding Dallas police have been working non-stop since joining the investigation.

“And they've got some information that we don't have any business having yet,” he explained.

No arrests have been made.

There is up to $25,000 reward available for anyone with information that can lead to an arrest and indictment in the case.

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