By Jon Wiederhorn
Anyone who has met, hung out with, or known Tim Lambesis, the frontman for Christian metalcore band As I Lay Dying and an established music producer, has probably never even seen the 32-year-old singer jaywalk, let alone commit any sort of felony. Yet the soft-spoken, amiable Lambesis was shockingly arrested Tuesday, May 7, for allegedly trying to hire a hitman on May 2 to murder his estranged wife.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department reported that Encinitas detectives, the San Diego Fugitive Task Force, and the Sheriff’s Special Investigation Division began to investigate Lambesis last Thursday, after they received a tip that he wanted to hire someone to kill his wife, who lives in Encinitas. The singer was subsequently arrested at about 2pm Tuesday at a store on Vista Way in Oceanside, California. He was then booked into the Vista Detention Facility and charged with solicitation of another to commit murder.
Lambesis's wife, Meggan, filed divorce papers in San Diego Superior Court last September, according to an online court document database.
"Information came to us late last week--last Thursday, to be specific--that Lambesis was soliciting another individual to kill his estranged wife, who also resides in the area," Sa Diego Sheriff's Department spokesperson Jan Caldwell said in a statement. "Our detectives, our fugitive task force, and the Sheriff's Special Investigations Division immediately initiated an investigation into this allegation. We worked around the clock through the weekend and that culminated this afternoon when Lambesis solicited an undercover detective to kill his wife.
"The next step will be Lambesis's initial appearance in court, and that is where the charges are read, and if there's a bail to be set. And they will go from there and start setting different court dates. The investigation at our end is still ongoing, and I can't go into detail on that. And, thankfully, no one was hurt. But I believe that the captain who commented earlier said that we averted a tragedy today."
As I Lay Dying had just returned from China, where they'd headlined the Painkiller Fest-Evolution on May 5 at the Mao Livehouse in Shanghai. The bill also featured the Ghost Inside, Sybreed, and the Falling. On May 6, Lambesis posted a photo on Instagram of himself in the streets of Shanghai with the text, "Goodbye China. I’ll be home in about 15 hours."
The band’s next scheduled date is May 30 in Oklahoma City with Killswitch Engage. As I Lay Dying shows are currently booked through July 8 in Joliet, Illinois.
Lambesis formed As I Lay Dying with drummer Jordan Mancino in 2000. The band has released six studio albums and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008 for Best Metal Performance for the song "Nothing Left."
In addition to singing for As I Lay Dying, Lambesis is the frontman for Austrian Death Machine, which writes songs that parody Arnold Schwarzenegger films. The group has released two albums, including the 2009 double-CD Double Brutal. In February, Austrian Death Machine announced they were working on a third album, Triple Brutal. Lambesis has also produced albums by Zao, Impending Doom, War Of Ages, Chelsea Grin, and Carnifex.
Unlike some metal musicians who are also Christians, Lambesis has never denied his religious motivation. "A lot of the songs that people think are about a girl are about God and vice versa,” he told me long before allegedly considering killing his estranged spouse. "A lot of people have been able to relate to a lot of our spiritual songs by applying it to their relationships. There are so many parallels between the way we love God and the way we love a girlfriend or a wife in a relationship."