The frontman of the locally based heavy metal band As I Lay Dying was arrested Tuesday, accused of trying to hire someone to kill his wife.
Tim Lambesis, who is the lead singer and co-founder of the band, asked an undercover detective on Tuesday afternoon to murder his estranged wife, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities said Lambesis was arrested at an Oceanside business without incident.
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Officials said they learned last Thursday that Lambesis had solicited someone to kill his wife, who is an Encinitas resident, and that they immediately began an investigation.
A search of court records has determined that Lambesis' wife, Meggan, filed for divorce in North County last September.
"There was no doubt as to the intention," said San Diego Sheriff’s representative Jan Caldwell, who also stated on Tuesday that “the captain, when it got to his desk, his words were, ‘We have to act on this now.’ ”
Caldwell said investigators had to act quickly because even though murder-for-hire plots are rare, they can be unpredictable.
"In my law enforcement career of 40-plus years, I've heard of it a handful of times,” Caldwell said. “It's fairly rare, but it’s one of those things that could have extremely tragic consequences."
SoundDiego contributor Tim Pyles of FM 94/9 was shocked by the news.
“He’s not the idealistic young Christian kid he once was, apparently,” Pyles said. “Beause that’s what [As I Lay Dying] are: a straight-edged Christian metal band. He was a nice guy. I’ve had him on my show a couple times over the years. I just spoke to him via Facebook the last couple months about having him come on to talk about his latest record.”
Pyles said he wouldn’t be the only one disturbed by the news.
“I‘m bummed,” Pyles said. “There’s a lot of people who look up to him. He’s just broken a lot of hearts if it’s true.”
As I Lay Dying formed more than a decade ago and released eight albums, including the Grammy-nominated An Ocean Between Us, which came out in 2007, according to band publicity. The band is also a mainstay of the San Diego Music Awards, nominated last year for Best Hard Rock Album for Decas, and winning for Best Hard Rock the year before that. In 2008, 2007 and 2005, the band took home the SDMA statuettes for Artist of the Year. The band had been slated to go on a cross-country tour with Massachusetts metal band Killswitch Engage later this month.
Lambesis just back from touring in Asia. His last tweet included a picture shot in China and said, “Goodbye China, I’ll be home in 15 hours.” His Instagram showed other photos from the tour as well.
Recently, home for Lambesis was at his parents' house in the upscale Del Mar neighborhood where he grew up, according to neighbors.
Fans of Lambesis and As I Lay Dying voiced their shock and disbelief on Twitter and Facebook after the news broke. One fan wrote, "Tim, please tell me the rumors aren’t true," and another posted, "Seems like he is the greatest guy in the world; he adopted a kid from Ethiopia."
Lambesis has been charged with solicitation of another to commit murder and conspiracy to commit a crime. He was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on Tuesday and will be arraigned on Thursday.