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Lawyer in suspected homicide case received email threatening to kill him

Civil District Judge Eric Moyé said he revealed a gun to a driver who was tailgating him on the Dallas North Tollway on Friday, hours after he was warned of a possible connection between a homicide investigation and a case the judge is presiding over.

DALLAS -- Civil District Judge Eric Moyé says he revealed a gun to a driver who was tailgating him on the Dallas North Tollway on Friday, hours after he was warned of a possible connection between a homicide investigation and a case he is presiding over.

It's a sign of Moyé and his court staff's nervousness brought on by the possible homicide of a prominent Dallas lawyer last week. There have been no arrests made in the case.

A woman posted a photo on Facebook of Moyé's Mercedes-Benz coupe on Facebook trying to get someone to identify the car. She said the driver "pulled a gun on her on the Tollway" and that Dallas police "can't do anything about it."

In a statement released by the judge, he says that description of Friday's events is "not accurate" and "taken out of context."

On Friday, attorney Ira Tobolowsky was found dead in the garage of his North Dallas home after a fire. Multiple sources have told News 8 the death of the prominent civil attorney is now being investigated as a homicide and that Tobolowsky had been doused with some sort of fuel and set on fire. A bottle filled with fuel was found at the crime scene.

According to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office, the autopsy on Ira Tobolowsky is pending toxicology tests, which could take eight to 12 weeks to complete.

A source tells News 8 that before his murder, Tobolowsky was sent an email that said, "I'm going to kill you." Dallas Fire-Rescue arson investigators are looking at a defamation case involving a man from Austin who was upset with Judge Moyé and Tobolowsky.

The Dallas County Sheriff's Office and Dallas Police Department expressed concern for Judge Moyé and his court's staff. The sheriff's office even assigned two deputies to patrol near Moyé’s home on Friday. News 8 learned that security detail was removed as of Monday.

In the statement, Moyé says he was instructed by law enforcement officers to arm himself before traveling anywhere.

Hours after the warnings from authorities, Judge Moyé says he was driving on the Dallas North Tollway when he was tailgated by a vehicle that was "within feet" of his car for "several miles" and, at one point, it pulled up close alongside the vehicle.

Judge Moyé, who has a firearm license, says he then removed a pistol from a compartment in the car and placed it on the passenger seat. After that, the driver of the other vehicle moved away.

The judge says someone in the other vehicle posted the image of his car on Facebook, along with the allegedly inaccurate version of the events.

Moyé says he informed the Dallas County Sheriff's Office of the incident, and spoke to investigators at the sheriff's office and Dallas Police Department about what happened.

The investigation into Tobolowsky's death is ongoing. As detectives continue to search for clues, friends of Tobolowsky are sharing details of the contentious litigation he was involved in leading up to his death.

Steve Schoettmer is a longtime friend and was representing Tobolowsky in a contentious defamation lawsuit.

“The police have asked for candidates, and I have to be honest with them in terms of who the candidates may be," Schoettmer said.

WFAA is not identifying the defendants in the lawsuit because no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Tobolowsky’s death, but Schoettmer says the case got heated.

"It was like nothing I'd seen in thirty plus years of doing trial work," Schoettmer said.

Court documents first obtained by News 8 Sunday show the saga began when the defendant in the defamation suit sued his mom over a family trust, and the mother hired Tobolowsky.

"The anger he had towards his mother and towards Ira was really just a phenomenal anger," Schoettmer said.

Fear of that anger apparently reached Judge Moyé, as well. News 8 confirmed he is presiding over the contentious case and requested the additional security.

Repeated attempts to reach the defendants in the defamation lawsuit have not been returned.

On Monday, Dallas Fire-Rescue issued a statement saying they canvassed Tobolowsky's neighborhood for surveillance video and witnesses. So, far no video has surfaced to help investigators piece together what happened.