Tim Lambesis, the frontman for metalcore band As I Lay Dying, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony murder solicitation charge for hiring an undercover agent to murder his estranged wife.
The heavy metal singer, who earlier denied the charge, entered the plea at a Vista, Calif. courthouse and now faces nine years in prison for the attempted hit. Lambesis was arrested in May 2013 after prosecutors said he met with a sheriff's deputy posing as a hit man -- dubbed "Red" -- and handed over $1,000 and his wife's address and front door security code.
The prosecutor in the case said Lambesis agreed to pay $20,000 for the job and was asked to confirm that he wanted his wife, Meggan, dead. "Yes, that's exactly what I want," he said, according to Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso.
Prior to the sting operation, Lambesis expressed desire to get rid of his wife in discussions with a personal trainer at his gym. He had complained that she was making it difficult for him to see their three adopted children and was delaying the completion of their divorce. The trainer contacted police and a meeting with "Red" was arranged.
The couple had been married eight years. In divorce papers, Meggan Lambesis said the singer was obsessed with bodybuilding and was spending money irresponsibly. She later discovered he was carrying on an affair.
In September, a defense attorney said Lambesis' use of steroids had clouded his judgement.
A sentencing hearing has been set for May 2.
Lambesis formed the San Diego-based As I Lay Dying in 2000. The band has released six studio albums, most recently 2012's "Awakened," and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008 for the song "Nothing Left." Lambesis' vocal style alternates from a metalcore growl to screamo-esque yelling.