On Thursday, As I Lay Dying singer Tim Lambesis pleaded not guilty to charges that he paid an undercover agent $1,000 to kill his estranged wife, reports The Associated Press.
Lambesis, 32, was arraigned in North San Diego County Superior Court on a charge of solicitation of murder. His bail has been set at $3 million. If he is released, he will have to wear GPS monitoring device and accept travel restrictions.
Lambesis was arrested Tuesday, May 7, at the Barnes & Noble in Oceanside, California, after he was recorded telling an undercover agent that he wanted Meggan Lambesis, his wife, dead. The singer gave the agent, who was known simply as "Red," an envelope full of money and instructions on how to kill Meggan, including her address, security gate code, photos and more.
The Associated Press reports that authorities staged the operation after Lambesis told a man at his gym that he wanted Meggan killed because she was making it difficult for him to see their children and complete their divorce. Lambesis' lawyer, Anthony Salerno, told reporters that the case was a setup.
"Law enforcement was being fed something by someone that I strongly believe was a snitch, was out to save his own skin and was trumping things up, exaggerating things," Salerno said in a statement.
Salerno said he expected Lambesis to make bail. The singer would also not be allowed to leave San Diego except to visit his lawyer in LA, which calls into question a planned 30-city tour As I Lay Dying has booked with Killswitch Engage that was supposed to start May 30 in Oklahoma City.
On Thursday, the rest of the band — Jordan Mancino (drums), Phil Sgrosso (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Nick Hipa (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Josh Gilbert (bass, clean vocals) — posted this note on their website:
"As we post this, the legal process is taking its course and we have no more information than you do. There are many unanswered questions, and the situation will become clearer in the coming days and weeks. We'll keep you informed as best we can.
"Our thoughts right now are with Tim, his family, and with everyone else affected by this terrible situation — and with our fans, whom we love and draw strength from. Thank you for understanding, and as always, for your support of As I Lay Dying."