VISTA, Calif. - Bail was slashed Friday from $3 million to $2 million for the lead singer of a San Diego-based heavy-metal band, who is accused of trying to arrange the murder of his estranged wife.
At the conclusion of a 90-minute hearing at the Vista Courthouse, As I Lay Dying frontman Timothy Peter Lambesis, 32, had his bail lowered by Judge David Berry.
Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso argued that Lambesis is a flight risk, based on his touring the world with his band and that this has been terrifying for the victim.
"She's really petrified. Who else is out there? Who else did he speak to?" said Grasso.
Defense attorney Thomas Warwick talked about a "good person" who fell into the clutches of steroid abuse as he became obsessed with bodybuilding. He told Berry that "everybody wants Tim back."
Several dozen family members and friends of Meggan Lambesis came to court. Anjuli Paschall was one of a group of friends wearing yellow hearts with white ribbon.
"We wish he didn't lower bail, but we're hoping he still can't make it, that Meggan will be safe. That's what we care about the most, that she and her kids are safe," Paschall said.
Lambesis was booked at the Vista Detention Facility on May 7 on suspicion of solicitation to commit murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
Lambesis was arrested at an Oceanside bookstore after he allegedly asked an undercover detective to kill his spouse, Meggan, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
The defendant allegedly gave the detective an envelope containing $1,000, photos of his wife, her address and the code to get through a security gate. He also allegedly gave dates when the "hit" could take place -- days when he had his children, saying that would be his alibi, investigators said.
Authorities began investigating the defendant about a week prior to his arrest after they said they got word he was allegedly trying to find someone to kill his wife of eight years.
The Encinitas resident filed for divorce from Lambesis last September, according to Billboard magazine, a music industry publiation that also reported the couple has three adopted children from Ethiopia.
Grasso alleged that Lambesis originally approached someone in a gym and asked if the individual knew anyone who would kill his wife.
Lambesis later met with the undercover agent posing as a hit man -- code name "Red" -- according to Grasso.
"Red" asked Lambesis if he wanted his wife of eight years gone, and the defendant replied, "Yes, that's what I want," the prosecutor alleged.
As I Lay Dying's most recent release, last year's "Awakened," debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard charts. The band's previous two albums opened at Nos. 10 and 8.
The Grammy-nominated group recently returned from a tour that included stops in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea and China, and was scheduled to start a series of U.S. stops later this month.