SAN DIEGO (AP) — The lead singer of heavy metal band As I Lay Dying, who is charged with plotting to kill his estranged wife, had recently become obsessed with bodybuilding and had started acting dangerously distracted around his children, his wife said in divorce papers.
Tim Lambesis was charged late Wednesday with one felony count of solicitation of murder, San Diego County district attorney spokeswoman Tanya Sierra said. He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.
Lambesis’ estranged wife, Meggan Lambesis, said in the court papers obtained by The Associated Press that her husband had fallen asleep while caring for the couple’s three children near a pool and had begun spending endless hours at a gym. He had also begun to spend thousands of dollars on tattoos, she said in the papers filed last fall.
Meggan Lambesis didn’t express any concern in the documents for her own safety, however.
Police say her husband tried to hire a hitman to kill her, but the person he approached was actually an undercover detective taking part in a sting operation set up following a tip to law enforcement last week.
The 32-year-old frontman of the Grammy-nominated band was taken into custody Tuesday at a store in Oceanside.
The musician’s wife also said in court papers that Lambesis toured six months a year and had taken two last-minute trips in a 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.
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.
“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.