Dana Littlefield of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports the lead singer of a successful Christian heavy-metal band told at least two people at a gym recently that he wanted to have his wife killed, a prosecutor said in court Thursday.
Timothy Lambesis, 32, of the band AS I LAY DYING, met with a person he believed was a hit man — but was actually an undercover detective — and handed him an envelope containing $1,000 cash, his wife’s address and the gate security codes. He told the agent he wanted his wife “gone,” said Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso.
This and other information led sheriff’s investigators to arrest Lambesis Tuesday in Oceanside. He pleaded not guilty in Vista Superior Court to a single count of solicitation for murder. He faces up to nine years in prison if convicted.
During the arraignment, Judge Martin Staven set Lambesis’ bail at $3 million, noting that the defendant has ties across the United States as well as outside the country. If he posts bail, the judge said, Lambesis will have to surrender his passport and wear a GPS device to monitor his whereabouts.
Staven also ordered the defendant to stay away from his wife, Meggan Lambesis, and their three children.
Defense attorney Anthony Salerno did not talk in detail about the allegations during the hearing, but said afterward that he believed his client may have been the victim of a setup.
“He did not intend to harm anybody,” the Los Angeles-based lawyer said.
Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso, who had asked for bail as high as $20 million, told the judge that the couple’s relationship suffered a major blow in August of last year when Tim Lambesis was on tour with his band. He sent an email to his wife saying he no longer loved her and did not want to be with her anymore.
He also wrote in the email that he no longer believed in God, the prosecutor said.
Further details, including a photo of Tim Lambesis in court, can be accessed at this location.