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Christian rocker pleads guilty to trying to hire hit man to kill wife

Courts and the Judiciary

VISTA -- Tim Lambesis, lead singer for the Christian-themed band As I Lay Dying, pleaded guilty Tuesday to trying to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife, who had filed for divorce.

Lambesis, 32, a resident of Carlsbad, faces a possible nine years in prison for soliciting a murder when sentenced May 2, according to prosecutors in the Superior Court case.

In divorce papers, his wife alleged that he had become emotionally distant, was preoccupied with bodybuilding and touring, and spent money irresponsibly, including on numerous tattoos. The couple had been married eight years and had adopted three children from Ethiopia.

Prosecutors said Lambesis had sent his wife an email several months before she filed for divorce telling her that he no longer loved her or believed in God. She also discovered several of his extramarital affairs, she said.

A sheriff's deputy posing as a hit man met with Lambesis and was given $1,000 and the address of his wife's home and the computer code to the front door, prosecutors said. Authorities were alerted to his desire to hire a hit man after Lambesis allegedly told someone at his gymnasium that he wanted his wife killed.

Lambesis was arrested in Oceanside in May 2013. He remains free on $3 million bail but was ordered to stay away from his wife and children, surrender his passport, and wear a GPS tracking device.

In 2007, his band's single "Nothing Left" was nominated for a metal performance Grammy. In the fall of 2012, the group released its sixth album, "Awakened."

As a singer, Lambesis has been described as vacillating "between sinister screaming and high-energy growling." At the time of his arrest, Lambesis was using crowd-sourcing to raise money for his latest musical effort.

For a contribution of $5,000, Lambesis promised to have the donor's name tattooed on his buttocks.

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com

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