Tim Lambesis, lead singer of the Grammy-nominated, Christian heavy metal band As I Lay Dying, has been arrested for allegedly trying to hire someone to kill his estranged wife, officials said Tuesday.
San Diego County Sheriff's Department said in a statement that it had received information Lambesis was “soliciting another individual” to murder his wife, Meggan.
According to court records, Meggan, filed for divorce in North County last September, NBCSanDiego.com reported.
SoundDiego contributor Tim Pyles, of FM 94/9, spoke of his shock.
“He’s not the idealistic young Christian kid he once was, apparently,” Pyles told NBCSanDiego.com. “Because that’s what [As I Lay Dying] are: a straight-edged Christian metal band. He was a nice guy. I’ve had him on my show a couple times over the years. I just spoke to him via Facebook the last couple months about having him come on to talk about his latest record.”
NBCSanDiego.com said As I Lay Dying was formed more than 10 years ago and had released eight albums, including the Grammy-nominated "An Ocean Between Us."
In an interview with heavy metal website Noisecreep in January, Lambesis talked about As I Lay Dying being described as a Christian band.
“Five or so years ago when magazines would try and press that point we decided to stay silent on the spiritual topic so that they would have to pay attention to our music and nothing more,” he told Noisecreep.
“We didn't preach at our shows, our goal has always been to just write the best music we can write. Of course religion has some influence on the things that we write about, just like all of our life experiences do, but as a band, we want to be judged on the music rather than what our personal beliefs are,” he added.
The band was slated to go on a cross-country tour with Massachusetts metal band Killswitch Engage later this month.
The band had been touring in Asia in recent weeks.
“I love the crowds here in Asia and the Pacific. Great shows in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand so far! Just landed in Hong Kong,” Lambesis said on Twitter on May 1.
On Monday, Lambesis tweeted, “Goodbye China. I’ll be home in about 15 hours.”
The sheriff's department statement, which was headlined “Murder for Hire Plot Foiled,” said Lambesis was arrested “without incident” on Tuesday in a store in Oceanside, San Diego County.
Lambesis was charged with solicitation of another to commit murder, the statement said.
“Information came to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department on May 2nd that Lambesis was soliciting another individual to kill his estranged wife, who resides in Encinitas,” it said.
“The Encinitas Detectives, The San Diego Fugitive Task Force and the Sheriff's Special Investigation Division investigators immediately initiated an investigation,” it said.
“The investigation culminated this afternoon [Tuesday], when Lambesis solicited an undercover detective to kill his wife. He was then arrested, transported to the Encinitas Station, and booked into the Vista Detention Facility,” the statement added.