Christian metal singer apologizes for trying to hire hitman to kill wife

VISTA (CNS) - About 3 1/2 years after being sent to prison for soliciting the murder of his estranged wife, the lead singer of a San Diego- based Christian heavy metal band has completed his term and is speaking out publicly about the case for the first time.

Timothy Peter Lambesis, 37, pleaded guilty in February 2014 to a felony murder solicitation charge for paying an undercover agent, who was posing as a hitman, to murder his now ex-wife, Meggan Murphy, and was sentenced to a six-year term but was paroled in 2016.

Lambesis, who was the lead singer for the popular Christian metalcore band As I Lay Dying, which sold millions of records and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008, took to the band's Facebook page Monday evening to apologize to his family, friends and fans.

"Words cannot begin to express how deeply sorry I am for the hurt that I have caused," he wrote. "There is no defense for what I did, and I look back on the person I became with as much disdain as many of you likely do."

At his sentencing hearing at the Vista courthouse in May 2015, Lambesis' attorney argued that steroids the singer was taking at the time he solicited the murder affected his physiology and mental state.

Judge Carlos Armour responded that he did not know if steroids played a part in the crime, but "there's a lot of men who use steroids who never engage in trying to hire someone to kill their spouses."

In the Facebook post, Lambesis did not mention steroids but said that while showing his best side to the public, he was "feeding an ugly growing monster behind closed doors."

"I've remained silent to the public since expressing remorse at my sentencing because time seemed like the best way to promote healing," Lambesis wrote. "Today marks the first opportunity to freely apologize without any motivation to gain favor from the courts, as I have now completed the entirety of my legal sentence (including the completion of all parole/probation requirements). Let it be clear that no amount of time served can right my wrongs. I do not feel deserving of a second chance and am not asking for anyone's trust. The way many people feel about me makes sense, and only time will tell if my future actions line up with my remorse, something I pray for every day."

Read the full Facebook post here.

Lambesis' ex-wife and her family had lobbied for a nine-year maximum sentence. Murphy told the judge at her ex-husband's sentencing hearing that the singer "has followers who will do anything on his behalf" and that "the question of who else Tim talked to or will talk to about killing me will forever haunt me."

Murphy and the couple's three adopted children went into hiding after finding out about the plot.

Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso said Lambesis met with the undercover agent at an Oceanside bookstore in May 2013 and supplied $1,000, gate codes, photos of his then-wife and dates when he would have his children and wouldn't be considered a suspect in her murder.

When the undercover agent -- who went by the name "Red" -- asked Lambesis if he wanted his wife dead, he replied, "Yes, that's exactly what I want," according to Grasso. The prosecutor said the undercover agent told Lambesis that the "hit" would cost $20,000, and the defendant agreed.

After their meeting, Lambesis told the undercover agent, "Just to clarify, I do want her dead," the undercover agent testified in 2013.

"I apologize to my former wife and remarkable children for my appalling actions," Lambesis wrote on the band's Facebook page, which still has nearly 2 million fans. "There's not a single day that goes by where I don't wish I could undo the damage I caused."

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