Convicted As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis has opened up about the series of events that led him to start planning the death of his estranged wife – and to being jailed for six years.
Lambesis: I lost everything after hiring hitman
Convicted As I Lay Dying frontman tells of drug-fuelled decisions that led to 6-year jail sentence for plotting to have his wife murdered
He was sentenced yesterday after he paid an undercover cop $1000 to begin work on a murder-for-hire plot in May last year.
Recalling the moment he handed over the cash, he says he was betrayed by the dealer who'd been supplying him with performance-enhancing drugs. He wonders if he'd have done what he did if his bandmates had offered more support. And he accepts the result of his actions means he's "lost everything," including family, band, career and property.
In an interview conducted before his sentencing, Lambesis tells AltPress: "I’m the one who decided to take steroids. I’m the one who didn’t address certain issues in my marriage. I can’t blame my insecurities, because that was only one part of it.
"I can’t blame steroids for the same reason. I can’t blame Meggan. She was certainly willing to address some of those issues. I’m still the one who made all of those smaller choices that added up to one bigger, much more hurtful choice."
He says he didn't go looking for steroids, but was approached by regulars in his gym who could see he wanted to progress his bodybuilding regime. "They find you," he reports. "A handful of people came up to me saying, 'I can tell you want to get to the next level.' They weren’t winking at me when they said it – but they might as well have been. I knew what they meant."
He believes there's a direct connection between his increasingly unreasonable behaviour and the hormonal imbalance caused by steroids. And he's sure his bandmates could see what was happening to him. "They were all pretty aware," he states. "But none of them called me out on it.
"I wish they had been like, 'Is this really how you want your life to unfold?' I understand it was awkward: 'We know he's cheating on his wife, we know he's going to end his marriage, we know he's on steroids.'"
The vocalist claims the idea of hiring a hitman came from his dealer, Brett Kimball, whose testimony was stricken from trial proceedings. A conversation arose after Lambesis was advised that his looming divorce proceedings could take months, and there was no guarantee he'd be able to see his three children before or afterwards.
He says: "I just expressed how said I was. I'm talking to him in the parking lot and I go, 'Hey, how's it going?' He goes, 'Pretty good – unless you maybe need me to kill somebody for you.' Like that, right off the bat.
"I'm thinking, 'Where's this guy going with this?' He goes, 'I can hook you up with somebody that could do this. Can you think of a better option?' He's asking it like it's a rhetorical question. I remember thinking, 'This doesn't feel right…' but as much as I wished there was a better option, this was my best option.
"Obviously, right now, I understand better. Legally speaking there are emergency-type things where you can get a judge to see you earlier, which I didn't know. But I just started to develop this mindset of, 'I guess this seems like the path I'm going to have to go down.'"
Eventually Kimball arranged a meeting between Lambesis and a man known as Red, who asked for some of Meggan's personal details and $1000 expenses in advance. "I'm thinking, 'He's going to be doing some research; we're not committing a crime right now. It's just research.'"
He recalls of their meeting in a branch of Barnes & Noble: "We're walking in one of the aisles. He's asking me these really direct questions: 'What is it you want me to help you with? What is it you want?' I was just like, 'Man, I want my ex-wife gone.'
"I wanted to make the hurt stop. That’s what I was focused on. It’s not in my nature to be growly and gnashing my teeth; I’m a pretty calm guy. I’m kind of passively saying, 'I want her gone.' It’s just too much for me to handle. I don’t know how to handle any of it.
"He says, 'Just to be clear: You want your wife dead?' So I say, 'Yes, to answer your question specifically – that’s what I want.' He's got that recorded."
Lambesis was arrested within moments of getting into his car after the meeting. But he admits that, even while he waited in a holding cell, he still didn't believe he'd committed a serious crime. "I'm thinking, "That $1000 was for expenses. I was just doing research on a crime – I wasn't actually doing a crime.' That's the insanity of my mindset; that was how I justified it.
"But I started to realise that, while I still owed the guy $20,000 and the crime wasn’t going to happen that day, the crime was set in motion to eventually happen. Once I realised that, I didn’t even recognise myself."
Ahead of sentencing, Lambesis agreed to Meggan's demands to surrender all parenting rights and also to hand over his life insurance policy, all cash found in his property, plus trust fund holding worth $250,0000.
He says: "I lost everything. Not just my family, my money, but the guys I spent almost a decade with. I don’t want to come across as bitter towards them – I’m thankful it unfolded how it did. I don’t want a feud. They had their reasons to keep away from me. One day they will explain themselves, I’m sure.
"The change that needs to happen within me, whether I serve six days or six years, has begun."