A local musician accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill his estranged wife will remain in jail on $2 million bail. NBC 7's Diana Guevara reports.
A local musician accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill his estranged wife will remain in jail on $2 million bail following a hearing in court on Friday.
Local musician Tim Lambesis – frontman for Grammy-nominated Christian metal band As I Lay Dying – is accused of trying to arrange the murder of his estranged wife, Meggan Lambesis.
Lambesis was arrested on May 7 in Oceanside. Prosecutors allege that Lambesis approached someone from his gym on Apr. 23 and asked if the person knew anyone who could kill his wife.
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The metal rocker was motivated because he felt it would be better for his three children to have a healthy relationship with one parent, prosecutors allege.
On May 7, Lambesis met with an undercover agent named “Red.” The rocker allegedly told the agent – whom he thought was some sort of hitman – that he wanted his wife “gone” and to “never see her again,” according to prosecutors.
Lambesis then allegedly provided the undercover agent with an envelope containing $1,000 cash for expenses, his wife’s address and gate codes, pictures of her and specific dates when he would have the children and thus, an alibi.
Meggan Lambesis lives in Del Mar with the couple’s three adopted children ages, 4, 8 and 10. Court documents reveal she had filed for divorce in September 2012 to end the couple’s 8-year marriage.
In the divorce records obtained by the Associated Press, Meggan Lambesis claims the rocker had become "obsessed with bodybuilding" and was distracted with the children, even falling asleep once while watching them. She also claimed he has spent thousands of dollars on tattoos.
Earlier this month, prosecutors claimed that in August 2012 Lambesis sent an email to his wife admitting he had been having an affair and no longer loved her. He also told her he no longer believed in God.
Following his May 7 arrest, Lambesis was held on $3 million bail. His attorney asked a judge for a more reasonable bail of $250,000, arguing that Lambesis had no criminal history whatsoever.
On May 9, the metal singer entered a not guilty plea to one charge of solicitation of murder. Judge Martin Staven ordered GPS monitoring for Lambesis and ordered that the defendant stay away from his wife and children.
On Friday, 10 days after Lambesis' arrest, dozens of his wife's friends flooded a courtroom for the bail review hearing. Friends of the frontman and his parents were also in the courtroom.
More than 25 friends of Meggan Lambesis showed their support for her by wearing yellow paper hearts – Meggan’s favorite color – with a white ribbon on their shirts.
In a brief exclusive interview, one of those supporters told NBC 7 that the group wanted to show that they love Meggan and stand behind her during this difficult ordeal.
A judge revealed he had received a “large number of letters” in support of Lambesis’ attorney’s request for lower bail.
However, the judge said Lambesis is still a danger to society and his estranged wife, and is still considered a flight risk. His bail was lowered from $3 million to $2 million.
The rocker’s family is unable to make bail, so Lambesis will remain in jail, his attorney said.
At this point, Lambesis has surrendered his passport to authorities and must have GPS monitoring. His upcoming tour with As I Lay Dying has been suspended.
Lambesis’ attorney, Tom Warwick, revealed more details about the singer’s past and his recent trouble with steroids in court on Friday.
Warwick said Lambesis was voted “Most Like Jesus” by classmates when he attended Santa Fe Christian High School as a teen. He was a religious studies major in college and “desperately loves his children,” according to his lawyer.
Warwick said Lambesis’ troubles began when he got into bodybuilding and “gym culture.”
The frontman started taking supplements, then steroids, that led to what Warwick referred to as “changes in his physiological and mental status.”
He went from 170 to 220-pounds and in his attorney’s words, “Was not the same person. He was irritable and lost God.” A forensic psychiatrist who consulted with the defense said Lambesis got “roid rage” after using steroids.
His attorney said Lambesis is now off steroids, going through withdrawal, and in total isolation in jail for protection from other inmates. He’s also getting personal counseling from a jail chaplain.
“It has been a terrible tragedy,” Warwick said in court while arguing for lower bail. "He was a very caring, gentle man [before taking steroids] and we need to get him back.”
Meanwhile, Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso said she was grateful that the judge kept bail high for Lambesis, given the severity of the case and what the victim has had to go through.
Grasso said Meggan Lambesis is practically under house arrest at this point, terrified over what has transpired.
“She’s doesn’t know who else is out there. She’s frightened,” said Grasso following the hearing.
If convicted, Lambesis faces a maximum sentence of nine years behind bars. He's scheduled to appear in court again on May 29.