According to NBC San Diego, AS I LAY DYING frontman Tim Lambesis — who was charged last week with trying to hire a hitman to kill his estranged wife — had his bail lowered from $3 million to $2 million during a hearing this afternoon (Friday, May 17).
Lambesis, who has said he considers himself to be a Christian and acknowledges that he finds inspiration for lyrical content from biblical texts, was arrested on May 7 in an Oceanside, California bookstore. He faces nine years in state prison if convicted.
Prosecutors initially requested that Superior Court Judge Martin Staven set Lambesis' bail at $20 million, saying the singer remains "substantially motivated to kill his wife."
During today's hearing — which was initially scheduled for 1:30 p.m. but was postponed to 3:00 p.m. — the singer's defense attorney, Tom Warwick, blamed Lambesis' steroid use for the alleged murder-for-hire plot. He also revealed that Lambesis is going through steroid withdrawal while in custody.
Lambesis' family is unable to make bail, so he will remain in jail, Warwick said. The lawyer had asked for bail of $250,000.
Lambesis' attorney said the "gym culture" led to "changes in [the singer's] physiological and mental status," with Tim's bodybuilding obsession causing him to go from 170 to 220 pounds after first taking supplements, then steroids. "[He] was not the same person. He was irritable and lost God."
Lambesis is now said to be off steroids, going through withdrawal, and in total isolation in jail for protection from other inmates. He’s also getting personal counseling from a jail chaplain.
"It has been a terrible tragedy," Warwick said. "He was a very caring, gentle man [before taking steroids] and we need to get him back."
Prosecutors allege Lambesis had twice told a man at a gym that he wanted his wife killed, then met with an undercover detective known as "Red", and gave the agent an envelope containing $1,000 in cash, photographs of his wife, and the security gate code to her house. He also allegedly told the agent the dates he would be with the couple's three adopted children, in order to give himself an alibi.
"When specifically asked do you want her dead, he said, 'Yes that's exactly what I want,'" Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso told the judge. "The victim now is terrified and living in seclusion."
In court on Friday, Grasso said that Lambesis did not flinch when told the hit on his wife would cost $20,000. "He was very willing to pay that," she said, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Lambesis, who was originally booked into jail on suspicion of two felonies — conspiracy and murder-for-hire — was ordered to wear a GPS monitor and turn in his passport and was warned by the judge that, if he is released from jail, he must stay away from his immediate family. The conspiracy charge was dropped before Lambesis was arraigned.
Lambesis' wife, Meggan, filed papers in September 2012 in San Diego Superior Court seeking a dissolution of the couple's marriage.
Defense attorney Anthony Salerno told Artisan News last week that he suspicious of the circumstances of Lambesis' arrest and believed Meggan's family could have been involved in setting him up. "Tim's wife's brother, I understand, is a San Diego Sheriff's deputy," he said. "I think I would be remiss if I didn't fully explore that, 'cause that is a litte bit… it's at the bare minimum very coincidental, and it may be more than that."