As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis has been arrested for allegedly conspiring to have his estranged wife murdered.
In a press release titled "Murder for Hire Plot Foiled," the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said Lambesis was arrested "without incident" on Tuesday, May 7 at 2:00 p.m. in a retail business on Vista Way in Oceanside, California.
The 32-year-old heavy metal frontman was charged with Solicitation of Another to Commit Murder. The Sheriff's Department said they became aware that Lambesis had asked someone to kill his estranged wife, who lives in Encinitas, a few days before. The Encinitas Detectives, The San Diego Fugitive Task Force and Sheriff's Special Investigation Division investigated.
"The information came to us late last week," San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell told Reuters. "We acted quickly on it. I believe that we averted a great tragedy."
On Tuesday afternoon, Lambesis is alleged to have asked an undercover detective to kill his wife. Authorities arrested him, took him to the Encinitas Station and booked him into the Vista Detention Facility.
As I Lay Dying had just returned from a short tour that included stops in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea and wrapped up in Shanghai, China. "I'll be home in about 15 hours," Lambesis wrote in a May 6 Instagram post.
The Grammy-nominated metal band has nearly 2 million fans on Facebook and have sold over 1 million albums with Metal Blade Records. The band are veterans of Ozzfest, Rockstar Mayhem and Revolver's Golden Gods Awards, among other notable appearances. Lambesis is also the mastermind behind the Austrian Death Machine project, a spoof band based around the singer's fondness for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Last month, ADM raised nearly $80,000 on Indiegogo to record a third album.
On Wednesday, the rest of As I Laying Dying issued a statement to Billboard on Lambesis' arrest.
"As we post this, the legal process is taking [its] course and we have no more information than you do. 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 band's four other members said in the statement. "Our thoughts right now are with Tim, his family, and with everyone else affected by this terrible situation - and with our fans, whom we love and draw strength from. Thank you for understanding, and as always, for your support of As I Lay Dying."
Lambesis newly launched Pyrithion project, also on Metal Blade, raised some eyebrows with some of the Christian-leaning As I Lay Dying's longtime fans, who objected to what they saw as "satanic" lyrical content. Lambesis, who studied at Liberty University and has several faith related tattoos, recently posted a video where he addressed those concerns. The singer also owns and operates Lambesis Studios and is credited as producer on albums by Sworn Enemy, Zao, Chelsea Grin and War Of Ages. The avid bodybuilder and motorcycle enthusiast also founded the Modern Rebellion clothing line a few years ago.
Last year's "Awakened" opened at No. 11 on the Billboard charts; As I Lay Dying's previous two albums debuted at "10" and "8," respectively.
Tim and Meggan Lambesis adopted three children from Ethiopia together in recent years before separating. The singer's wife filed for dissolution of marriage in September of last year, according to San Diego Superior Court documents; her divorce papers indicated she was concerned in changes in Lambesis' behavior and his obsession with bodybuilding. The two have been married for 8 years.
Meggan is listed as part of the group background vocals on Austrian Death Machine's 2008 debut album, "Total Brutal." As I Lay Dying is scheduled to begin a tour with Killswitch Engage at the end of this month that also features Miss May I and Affiance.
Friends and fans responded with disbelief across social media on Tuesday, with many citing what a down-to-earth and extremely nice guy the singer can be. "Innocent until proven guilty," several friends posted on Facebook.
Lambesis is expected to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. He is ineligible for bail at this time.