Damning testimony in singer's murder-for-hire prelim - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Damning testimony in singer's murder-for-hire prelim

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In this May 9, 2013 file photo, Tim Lambesis, 32, front man for the Christian-inspired heavy metal group As I Lay Dying, appears in Vista Superior Court in Vista, Calif. In this May 9, 2013 file photo, Tim Lambesis, 32, front man for the Christian-inspired heavy metal group As I Lay Dying, appears in Vista Superior Court in Vista, Calif.

VISTA (CBS 8 / CNS) - The lead singer of the heavy-metal band As I Lay Dying, charged for trying to have his estranged wife killed, was ordered Monday to stand trial on a charge of solicitation to commit murder.

Tim Lambesis, 32, faces nine years in prison if convicted.

After a preliminary hearing Monday, Vista Judge Robert Kearney ruled there was enough evidence for Lambesis to stand trial.

Lambesis -- free on $2 million bail -- will be back in court Oct. 22 for arraignment.

San Diego County sheriff's Detective John Buckley testified that he met with a personal trainer who told him that Lambesis in late April had asked him to kill his wife, Meggan Lambesis.

The personal trainer said that when he told Lambesis he wasn't interested, Lambesis asked him if he knew anybody who would kill his spouse, Buckley testified.

The trainer said he had been alerted to Lambesis' problems with his wife and alleged desire to have her killed a few days earlier by a co-worker, according to Buckley.

When the personal trainer and the defendant met and exchanged pleasantries, the trainer told Lambesis

"Everything's good, as long as you don't ask me to kill your wife," according to the detective.

Lambesis told the personal trainer that his wife was controlling visitations for their three adopted children and was spending money on attorneys for their impending divorce, Buckley testified.

The personal trainer went to police after a second meeting with Lambesis because "he didn't want to see an innocent person get murdered," Buckley testified.

The trainer told Lambesis he knew a man named "Red" who might be willing to kill his wife.

An undercover Deputy Sheriff, Howard Bradley, posed as "Red" and met with Lambesis at a bookstore in Oceanside, the witness said.

Lambesis provided an envelope containing a $1,000 down payment, photos of the intended victim and her address, Bradley testified.

"He told me he wanted his wife gone," the undercover deputy said.

Lambesis gave "Red" three possible dates for the murder when he would have his children so he wouldn't be considered a suspect, Bradley testified.

Bradley told the defendant the job would cost $20,000. As the two parted ways, Lambesis told Bradley, "Just to clarify, I do want her dead."

Lambesis was arrested May 7.

Outside of court, Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso said Meggan Lambesis went into hiding with her children as soon as detectives told her about her husband's plan to have her killed.

"She's safe now, trying to move on," Grasso said. "It's a terrifying thing."

Meggan's friends were also in court Monday.

"We're wearing yellow hearts in support of Meggan. Yellow is her favorite color and that's why we're wearing them today," said Erin Peet, one of Meggan's friends.

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