Tim Lambesis pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of solicitation of murder after initially pleading not guilty in September, when he claimed his use of steroids had warped his mind. Lambesis, the 33-year-old lead vocalist for the Christian heavy metal group, As I Lay Dying, confessed to hiring a man, who turned out to be an undercover cop, to kill his wife. He will be sentenced on May second in Vista Superior Court where he faces a maximum sentence of nine years and a $10,000 fine.
Authorities said that the charges he has confessed to occurred on May seventh, when Lambesis gave $1,000 in cash to a man named “Red” to murder his estranged wife, Meggan Lambesis. The hitman turned out to be an undercover cop, Sheriff’s Deputy Howard Bradley, who had been tipped off by an employee at the defendant’s gym. Lambesis reportedly told two employees that he wanted to get rid of his wife.
Lambesis met Bradley in a bookstore, where, in addition to $1,000, he gave the undercover cop an envelope containing photographs of Meggan, her address, access codes to the security gate and a list of dates that he would be with the couple’s three adopted children, giving him his alibi.
Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso said that Bradley asked the defendant if he wanted Meggan out of the picture, and Lambesis said, “I don’t ever want to see her again.” Bradley then asked specifically, “Do you want her dead?” Lambesis replied, “That’s exactly what I want.” When the undercover cop told the defendant that the full cost of the hit would be $20,000, Lambesis agreed.
After being married for eight years, Meggan filed for divorce in Sept. 2012. Meggan had discovered that Lambesis had been having a string of affairs. He also wrote an email to her that said he no longer loved her and that he had lost his faith in God. Meggan cited irreconcilable differences in the divorce and alleged that her husband had become obsessed with going to the gym.
After his arrest, Lambesis’ defense attorney, Thomas J. Warwick, Jr., offered an interesting defense. He claimed that steroids had pushed Lambesis over the edge and caused brain damage after repeated use. Warwick said that Lambesis gained 50 pounds and experienced “changes in his physiological and mental status.” He was “irritable and lost God.” The defense argued it was not Lambesis who hired a man to kill his wife, but a man with “roid rage.”
Dr. Charles Yesalis, professor emeritus at Penn State, is the author of multiple books on the subject of performance-enhancing drugs. He said that “roid rage” is associated with spontaneous, violent behavior of such magnitude, that police should get involved. “Key word is ‘spontaneous.’ You know, it’s a fit of rage,” said Yesalis. “When you sit and you plan somebody’s demise, I just don’t equate that to a ‘roid rage’ incident.”
Warwick obviously scratched the “roid rage” defense as Lambesis confessed Tuesday to attempting to hire Bradley to kill his wife. Lambesis is currently free on a $2 million bond with the requirement that he stays away from his wife and three children, surrender his passport, and wears a GPS monitor.
By David Tulis
ABC 10 News