SAN DIEGO (AP) — The lead singer of the heavy metal band As I Lay Dying, who is suspected of plotting to kill his estranged wife, had become obsessed with bodybuilding, was distracted around his children, and was spending thousands of dollars on tattoos, his wife said in divorce papers.
Musician Tim Lambesis had changed during the past several months, falling asleep while caring for his three adopted children near a pool and spending endless hours at a gym, according to Meggan Lambesis, who questioned her husband's ability to parent in divorce documents filed last fall.
However, she didn't express fear for her own safety in the documents.
Police say Tim Lambesis tried to hire a hitman to kill Meggan Lambesis. But the would-be killer was actually an undercover detective taking part in a sting operation set up after law enforcement received a tip last week about the plot.
The 32-year-old frontman of the Grammy-nominated band was expected to be arraigned on Thursday, two days after he was taken into custody at a store in Oceanside.
Meggan Lambesis said in court papers obtained by The Associated Press that her estranged husband toured six months a year and had taken two last-minute trips in one month to see his then-girlfriend in Florida.
She said he owned two "high-end" Harley Davidson motorcycles, dined out for almost every meal and lived in a spacious suite at his parents' $2 million home.
She asked the court to order an expert to examine their music-related businesses and other assets. She submitted a tax return showing the couple grossed $233,000 in 2010 but did not specify an amount she was seeking for spousal support.
The couple adopted the children — ages 4, 8 and 10 — from Ethiopia, and Tim Lambesis continued to see them for about 10 hours a week when he was not on tour, even though the couple was no longer living together, according to court documents.
Meggan Lambesis said in the court papers that he would ignore the children while texting or talking on the phone. The stay-at-home mom said the children need a stable parent to help them adjust to their new life.
She said they would try private mediation to work out the children's custody and visitation issues.
Tim Lambesis' comments about his Grammy-nominated band's latest album, "Awakened," indicate he may have been struggling. The singer, who has a degree in religious studies, is known for his growled vocals and philosophical lyrics, which he has said are written from his perspective as a Christian.
The band's website says the album — released the same month his wife filed for divorce after eight years of marriage — is a "far darker, more pessimistic beast" than previous albums.
"On this record, I wasn't purposefully trying to be negative, but I think sometimes we have to be honest with some of the darker and more difficult times of our lives to get back to that positivity," Lambesis is quoted as saying. "While the lyrics do perhaps seem like a dark window into my soul, they're written that way specifically because I want to move on and transcend those difficult moments in life."
Authorities said a task force from several law enforcement agencies launched an investigation that led to the arrest late Tuesday. The department would give no further details.
A man who answered the phone at a number listed in the singer's name in Del Mar said the family was not commenting at this time, and Lambesis' attorney could not be reached for comment.
As I Lay Dying formed in San Diego in 2000 and has released six albums, 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, which plays in an aggressive style that features metal guitar riffs at the furious pace of hardcore punk, was scheduled to tour the country this summer.
Its record label, Metal Blade, said in a message posted to the band's fans that "there are many unanswered questions, and the situation will become clearer in the coming days and weeks."
"We'll keep you informed as best we can," the message said. "Our thoughts right now are with Tim, his family, and with everyone else affected by this terrible situation."
AP Music Writer Chris Talbott in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this report.