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A fitness trainer named Brett said he knew Tim Lambesis at the gym where he worked, but just in passing. Lambesis was a client of a different trainer there, at the gym called Pure Fitness in Carlsbad, California.

The trainer was aware that Tim Lambesis was the lead singer for several rock bands, and Brett tried going to one of his concerts, once, but heavy metal is not really his kind of music.

One day Brett asked the other trainer how Lambesis doing, the rock singer hadn’t been in the gym for awhile and Brett knew he was away on tour. The other trainer replied that Lambesis “would be doing better if his wife was taken care of.” Brett then heard about a difficult divorce.

(Timothy Peter Lambesis and fiancé Meggan were both 24 years old when they married in June 2004; they separated eight years later, in 2012.)

It was April of 2013 when trainer Brett said he got a text message from Tim Lambesis. “He contacted me via text asking if he could talk with me.”

Brett described his meetings with Lambesis for a court hearing, five months later.

Tim Lambesis met with Brett in the parking lot of their gym on a Monday evening, April 22, 2013.

Lambesis asked right away if he knew why they were meeting. Brett said he jokingly replied, “I was hoping it wasn’t to kill anybody.” Brett claims Lambesis’ response was: “He told me that was funny and that was exactly why I was there.”

The rock singer explained that his relationship with his wife had deteriorated and they split up and he had a new relationship. Lambesis complained his wife wouldn’t let their kids travel on tour with him. And the successful band leader complained that since their separation, his wife was spending all their money on divorce attorneys, according to Brett.

(Within twelve months of their separation, Lambesis’ wife’s attorneys wanted $52,500 in “fees” plus $40,000 in “costs,” these amounts are listed in court documents. The wife’s divorce team is made up of four attorneys plus a paralegal, and a secretary, and a “clerical person;” their combined hourly rates add up to $1,740 per hour. Tim Lambesis’ divorce attorney listed his rate as $525 per hour.)

Lambesis told the trainer that he wanted to “get rid of her,” Brett said in court. “I told him it wasn’t anything I was interested in.”

After their meeting, the trainer said he spoke with an attorney because he feared there might actually be a killing. “I thought he was going to go through with it, with or without me.”

Brett said he arranged to meet again with Lambesis, and this time he wanted to record their conversation. Within days they did meet again, this time at a bookstore in the nearby community of Oceanside. The trainer said he suggested other solutions for Lambesis’ troubles, but the man persisted, he wanted to be completely rid of his wife. “He was not veering from killing his wife.”

Brett was aware that all three of Lambesis’ children were adopted. Brett himself was adopted, and he has two adopted kids himself. The situation touched him. Brett said that sometimes he gets hired to protect people, and that is how he sees himself. “I’m a bodyguard, not an assassin,” he told a superior court judge.

Brett said that when he believed Lambesis would not be put off from the killing, he suggested another person, somebody named Red. Lambesis then asked him, “Like the color?” And Brett replied, “Just like the color.”

This man called Red looks older but he is sturdily built; his face is weathered and rugged. When he came to court to testify, he said his real name is Howard Bradley, and he has worked with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for 33 years. Detective Bradley has pierced ears and a long reddish beard that wags when he talks.

At a preliminary hearing on September 16, the detective described a sting operation: “I was to play the role of an individual named Red.” Their suspect was told that a person named Red would be in the San Diego area on May 7 for a Hells Angel funeral, and Red was available to meet.

The detective said he phoned Tim Lambesis and told him to bring certain items to the meeting: photos and an address and a thousand dollars “as a down payment.” According to detective Bradley, the two men spoke on May 7 and they agreed to meet the same day, at the Oceanside bookstore at 2 p.m.

Red said he got there first and met Tim Lambesis as soon as he came through the doors. “He told me he wanted his wife ‘gone.’” The detective said he asked if Lambesis had a preferred method and was told, “That was up to me.”

Lambesis said he picked out three dates that were “good” for him, those were the days he was scheduled to have custody of his kids, Red told the court.

When Red named his price, twenty thousand dollars, he said Lambesis agreed to the amount “immediately.” The fake hitman said he cautioned his suspect not to withdraw the money all at once because it would be noticed, but Lambesis reassured him. “He told me he already had the money withdrawn.”

The undercover officer said he tried to get Lambesis to be specific, did he want his wife “gone” or what exactly. But Lambesis seemed to avoid the word “dead,” the detective remembered. But after Lambesis took a few steps away, going towards his car, he turned back around and made himself clear. “Just to clarify, just so you know, I do want her dead,” Tim Lambesis finally said, according to the detective’s sworn testimony.

Lambesis went to his black Jeep parked outside, and then the scruffy detective followed. Red said he received a file folder passed to him through the window, and inside were ten one-hundred-dollar bills, the name of a woman and security codes to get into her home, and a description of her vehicle.

In his cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Warwick was able to get a different witness, Detective John Buckley, to agree this was a “set-up.” The defense attorney asserted that his client never took any steps himself to arrange any meetings or assassination; this seemed to hint at a defense based on improper solicitation by authorities.

Detective John Buckley said he reviewed recordings of meetings and phone calls, and video surveillance from the bookstore and the parking lot at the gym. But no video nor audio recordings were played during the hearing in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse on September 16, 2013.

Timothy Peter Lambesis, now 32, pleads not-guilty to one charge of solicitation of murder. The maximum possible sentence is nine years, according to prosecutor Claudia Grasso.

Lambesis was arrested immediately after he met with Red, the afternoon of May 7, 2013. Lambesis soon bailed out and is currently on “house arrest,” wearing a GPS monitor. At the end of the hearing in September, Honorable Judge Robert J. Kearney ordered the defendant to continue obedience to a previously issued “protective order.”

(Meggan Lambesis, 32, has a “stay away” order which protects herself and three children aged 10, 8, and 5. In court paperwork, the estranged wife declared: “We fear for all our lives,” and she included a request to protect two Boston terrier dogs named Billy and Annie.)

Lambesis is next due in court October 22, 2013.

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Comments

Visduh Sept. 18, 2013 @ 9:08 a.m.

Lambesis seems to have lost that wild-eyed look he had a few weeks ago. But showing up in court in a black shirt and black necktie doesn't project a picture of innocence. We can only wonder what the defense attorney was thinking when he went along with that. (Of course showing all his hideous tats is an even worse idea.) But ol' Tim has an image to protect, doesn't he?

It has been reported elsewhere that the defense attorney was already attributing this to "steroid abuse" by the defendant. That was tantamount to admitting guilt. Now his strategy appears headed in the direction of proving a "set up", meaning entrapment. With all the witnesses who testified at the hearing, that will be hard to pull off.

So which is is, Counselor, entrapment or 'roid rage? You can't have it both ways.

Excellent reporting, Eva.

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Eva Knott Sept. 30, 2013 @ 5:54 p.m.

The wife of Timothy Lambesis filed a civil suit against her husband last month, asking one million dollars for “emotional distress” and another million for “punitive damages.” Her attorney, Randall Winet, also requested unspecified attorney’s fees and $100,000 in current and future “medical expenses.”

Paperwork for this lawsuit was filed August 2, 2013, and the case was assigned to Honorable Judge Timothy Casserly, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse. The next court date is scheduled for April 11, 2014.

It is unclear if the Lambesis divorce has been finalized. The last hearing for the divorce case of Meggan vs. Timothy Lambesis was mysteriously moved from the north county courthouse to the downtown courthouse, on September 25, 2013.

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Visduh Oct. 3, 2013 @ 12:30 p.m.

Oh ho! I'd assume that she knows he has assets, and that they are not obvious or accessible to her. But if she can get a judgment, whenever or wherever they appear or are identified, she can seize them. But it has been my observation that civil suits such as this one are generally delayed until the companion criminal case is completed. So, this puts more pressure on ol' Tim to make some sort of plea bargain with the DA, and hope to salvage something of his "career" before his tats start to sag and his heavy-metal screech voice fades to a croak.

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Eva Knott Feb. 25, 2014 @ 3:07 p.m.

Tim Lambesis admitted solicitation of murder today, February 25. Speaking softly, in a subdued tone, he confirmed to a judge that he attempted to hire a hit man to kill his estranged wife of 8 years, Meghan. In the plea deal, there is no agreed-upon sentence, so Tim Lambesis could get as little as "time already served" plus probation -- or up to nine years in State prison. Tim is now on house arrest. The families of both Tim Lambesis and the assassination target, wife Meghan, are expected to attend the sentencing, set for May 2, before the same judge who took the plea, Honorable Carlos Armour.

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