A heavy metal singer convicted in a murder-for-hire plot to kill his estranged wife has reunited with his Grammy-nominated band and performed with the group in San Diego over the weekend.
Tim Lambesis and his Christian-inspired band As I Lay Dying performed together Saturday for the first time since May 2013. That's when Lambesis was arrested after an undercover agent recorded him saying he wanted his wife killed.
Lambesis gave the agent $1,000 in cash and instructions on how to kill Meggan Lambesis, including her photo, address, security-gate code and dates he would be with their children to give him an alibi, prosecutors said.
The undercover operation was staged after the singer twice told a man at his gym that he wanted his wife killed, complaining that she was making it difficult for him to see their children and impossible to complete their divorce.
Lambesis pleaded guilty in the case and served two years of a six-year sentence.
In a Facebook post on the band's fan page in December, Lambesis apologized to his ex-wife and children for his "appalling actions."
"Words cannot begin to express how deeply sorry I am for the hurt that I have caused," Lambesis wrote. "There is no defense for what I did, and I look back on the person I became with as much disdain as many of you likely do."
At their San Diego show on Saturday, Lambesis told a packed venue that he and his bandmates were thankful.
"We're not only thankful for you guys, we're thankful for each other," he told fans. "We're thankful for the relationships we've rebuilt. We're very, very excited about that."
The band formed in San Diego in 2000 and released six albums before Lambesis' arrest, including 2007's "An Ocean Between Us," which reached No. 8 on Billboard's charts. A single from the album, "Nothing Left," was nominated for a Grammy for top metal performance.
The band released a new single on June 7 called "My Own Grave."
In a sometimes-tearful video posted Saturday on their YouTube page, the band talked about how they got back together.
Guitarist Nick Hipa said that at first, he wasn't open to hearing Lambesis' apologies, referring to an interview the singer gave before his sentencing that amounted to "one long excuse."
"That's the moment that whatever shred of empathy I had for him turned into just blind hatred," he said.
But when they met in person for the first time since Lambesis' release, Hipa said he saw a changed man.
"It took all of those years, him facing punishment and the consequences for his actions, living in the ruin that he made for himself," Hipa said. "What he did was very public and it cannot be forgotten and it shouldn't. But that's part of what he has to endure for the rest of his life."
Lambesis also talked about the changes he's undergone.
"'Defense' is no longer in my vocabulary. I don't defend what I did because there's not a defense for it," he said. "All I can do is just make amends where possible, express my remorse ... and just put my energy into something positive."