The lead singer of a San Diego-based rock band accused of trying to hire a hit man to murder his estranged wife pleaded not guilty Thursday to a felony charge of solicitation of murder and was ordered held on $3 million bail.

VISTA -- Heavy metal singer Tim Lambesis must wear a GPS monitor and stay away from his immediate family if released from jail after pleading not guilty to soliciting the murder of his estranged wife.

Lambesis, lead singer of the Christian-themed band As I Lay Dying, entered his plea Thursday.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Martin Staven set bail at $3 million. If he is released from jail, he must wear the monitor and follow the stay-away order, Staven said.

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

Deputy Dist. Atty. Claudia Grasso said Lambesis several months ago sent his wife an email telling her that he no longer loved her or believed in God. His wife also learned he had had several extramarital affairs, she said.

Lambesis was arrested Tuesday in Oceanside after allegedly seeking to hire a undercover sheriff's deputy to kill his wife. The meeting was arranged after deputies received a tip that Lambesis was allegedly trying to arrange the murder of his wife.

Grasso said Lambesis gave the deputy posing as a hit man $1,000 and the address of his wife's home and the computer code to the front door. A tip about his desire to hire a hit man came after Lambesis allegedly told someone at his gymnasium that he wanted his wife killed.

At the arraignment in court in Vista, a readiness hearing was set for June 10 and preliminary hearing for July 10. Lambesis was represented by defense attorney Anthony Salerno of Los Angeles.

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tony.perry@latimes.com