In what is easily one of the most shocking stories to surface since the inception of Horns Up Rocks in 2010, Tim Lambesis from AS I LAY DYING remains incarcerated after an undercover Police officer discovered that Lambesis wanted his wife assassinated. Allegedly, Lambesis's wife Meggan was making his life impossible through their undergoing divorce and would even prevent him from seeing his kids.
On Thursday afternoon, at a court arraignment attended by his friends and fans, AS I LAY DYING singer Tim Lambesis pleaded not guilty to a charge of soliciting the murder of his estranged wife. San Diego County Superior Court Judge Martin Staven set bail at $3 million. Once he is released from jail, Lambesis must wear a GPS monitor and stay away from his wife and their three children.
At the arraignment in Superior Court in Vista, a readiness hearing was set for June 10 and preliminary hearing for July 10. Lambesis was represented by defense attorney Anthony Salerno of Los Angeles. Salerno told reporters that Lambesis did not intend to harm anybody and was apparently set up by the man at the gym.
"Law enforcement was being fed something by someone that I strongly believe was a snitch, was out to save his own skin and was trumping things up, exaggerating things," Salerno said. The lawyer declined to address specific allegations.
"He was arrested for conspiracy to commit murder, which carries a life sentence, as well as being booked for soliciting murder," Salerno said. "I won't necessarily get too deep [in the details of] the law surrounding conspiracy, but I came to believe very strongly that there is absolutely no way that he could be even charged with conspiracy, much less convicted of it. [So] one of the first things I did was to reach out directly to the [district attorney] that was assigned to the case and had some conversations with her. And she, in fact, did decide for Tim not to be charged with conspiracy, which was a big victory, 'cause that took a potential life sentence off the table before he was even charged. That's something that jumped out at me right away — that I needed to do that early intervention — so we did that."
Salerno also said that Lambesis was originally being held without bail before the attorney was able to intervene.
"At the point Tim was first arrested, the Sheriff's Department asked for and received permission to hold him with no bail," he said. "They got that permission from a judge and I knew that that was well in excess of what the bail schedule in San Diego County calls for. So my next order of business was to try to see what we could do to get that bail… well, first of all, to get a bail, and then to get it set as low as possible. That, of course, was what the bail hearing was about [on Thursday]. I was a little bit disappointed; I thought the bail should have been much lower. The scheduled amount for the charge that he ultimately has now is just $250,000. And, in fact, the scheduled amount for even solicitation to commit murder is a million [dollars]; and the judge set it at three million. So I was a little disappointed that it was that high. On the other hand, the D.A. was asking that the bail continued to be set at no bail whatsoever, and then she said — [which] I thought [was] kind of over the top — that as a backup, it ought to be set at $20 million. I think the fact that an earlier judge had said 'no bail' kind of must have influenced our judge, and that's [why] he set the three million. So right now the gameplan is to try to work on getting Tim out at that three million or possibly to have it lowered."
The lawyer added that someone may have given false information about Lambesis to authorities in order to "save his own skin."
"I would anticipate myself asking for quite a bit of additional discovery, particularly on this person I strongly suspect is a snitch and is an informant for the police and was really creating this whole scenario and sort of setting Tim up," he said. "I believe there's a good probability he may be a police informant. And that information is only available internally with the police department, or in this case the San Diego Sheriff's Department, and through the D.A.'s office, and that's something I'm gonna have to explore as well."
He added: "There's one other element to this, too, which is… I don't want to start to make accusations on this one unless I have some more information, but I will point out that Tim's wife's brother, I understand, is a San Diego Sheriff's deputy, and I think I would be remiss if I didn't fully explore that, 'cause that is a litte bit… it's at the bare minimum very coincidental, and it may be more than that."
“Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso said that Lambesis originally approached someone in a gym and asked if he knew anyone who would kill his wife.
Later Lambesis met with the undercover agent posing as a hit man — code name “Red” — according to Grasso. “Red” asked Lambesis if he wanted his wife of eight years gone, and the defendant replied, “Yes, that’s what I want,” the prosecutor said.
Grasso said Lambesis gave the undercover agent an envelope containing $1,000, pictures of his wife, her address and the code to get through a gate. Lambesis also gave the agent dates when the “hit” could take place — days when he had his children, saying that would be his alibi, according to the prosecutor.”
If found guilty, Tim could face up to 9 years in prison.
Upcoming AS I LAY DYING shows with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE (band has not pulled from the tour yet):
- Thu/May-30: Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
- Fri/May-31: Austin, TX @ Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater
- Sat/Jun-01: Houston, TX @ House of Blues
- Mon/Jun-03: Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House Of Blues
- Tue/Jun-04: Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
- Thu/Jun-06: Richmond, VA @ The National
- Fri/Jun-07: Syracuse, NY @ F Shed at the Market
- Sat/Jun-08: Hampton Beach, NH @ Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
- Sun/Jun-09: Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
- Tue/Jun-11: New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
- Wed/Jun-12: Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore - Silver Spring
- Sat/Jun-15: Guelph, ON @ Guelph Concert Theatre
- Sun/Jun-16: Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection
- Mon/Jun-17: Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts
- Tue/Jun-18: Sauget, IL @ Pop's Nightclub
- Thu/Jun-20: Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
- Fri/Jun-21: Magna, UT @ The Great Salt Air
- Sat/Jun-22: Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
- Sun/Jun-23: Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee
- Tue/Jun-25: San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
- Thu/Jun-27: Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
- Fri/Jun-28: Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House
- Sat/Jun-29: Billings, MT @ Shrine Auditorium
- Mon/Jul-01: Fargo, ND @ The Venue
- Tue/Jul-02: Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium
- Wed/Jul-03: Wichita, KS @ The Cotillion
- Fri/Jul-05: Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
- Sat/Jul-06: Cleveland, OH @ House Of Blues
- Sun/Jul-07: Pontiac, MI @ The Crofoot
- Mon/Jul-08: Joliet, IL @ Mojoes
As I Lay Dying's official site