Video: Tim Lambesis Reacts to New Bail Amount in Court
On Friday, Tim Lambesis’ bail was lowered from $3 million to $2 million after his new defense attorney (and he has apparently parted ways with his original lawyer, Anthony Salerno), Thomas Warwick, announced that Lambesis had been taking steroids, and had consequently suffered from what is commonly known as “roid rage”: “His thought processes were devastatingly affected by his steroid use,” Warwick asserted.
Local San Diego affiliates for both CBS and NBC have since posted video reports from the hearing, which include footage not only of Warwick making his argument, but of Lambesis having what appears to be a less-than-positive reaction to his new bail amount. Watch:
So, there’s obviously two issues here. The first is: will a “roid rage defense” work? Lambesis won’t be the first defendant to have tried such an argument, but it’s rarely successful. South African sprint runner Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius has been attempted to blame the fatal shooting of his girlfriend — which he claims was accidental — in part on roid rage, but in February, The Washington Times reported that such a defense is pretty iffy at best:
“‘As a general rule, ‘roid rage’ has been a terribly ineffective defense when it has been raised,’ said Rick Collins, a New York-based defense attorney who specializes in PED cases. ‘The idea that steroid use alone is going to be accepted as the sole and exclusive cause of violent acts is unlikely to be accepted by a jury.’”
The article continues to say that “scientific evidence for the [roid rage] phenomenon is inconclusive”:
“Experts agree that hormone levels can affect mood and behavior, including aggression. Yet while performance-enhancing drug use has been linked to a wide variety of physical side effects including acne, hair loss and liver damage, researchers have not found a definitive link — let alone a causal relationship — between drug use and increased anger or violence in the majority of steroid users.
“In 2004, scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles conducted a double-blind study in which a group of men between the ages of 19 and 40 were given a 10-week course of testosterone injections, increasing the amount of the hormone in their bodies to between six and eight times its natural level.
“The men — and their spouses — were also subjected to a series of psychological tests and interviews.
“The study’s authors concluded that the extra testosterone, when ‘administered to normal men in a controlled setting,’ did not increase angry behavior.
“By contrast, a 2008 study based on data from a nationwide, long-term study of adolescent health found that young adult males who self-reported use of anabolic steroids also reported greater involvement in violent behaviors.
“Other research suggests that a small minority of performance-enhancing drug users — about five percent, according to Harvard University psychiatrist Harrison Pope, an expert on the topic — may experience related psychiatric effects including mania, increased aggression, hypomania and depression, particularly when multiple types or extremely large doses of steroids are being used.”
So there a huge question mark as to whether or not a jury would ever accept such a defense. Furthermore, given that the “roid rage” defense is typically used for those accused of committing violent crimes themselves, one has to wonder if the jury will find the idea that roid rage caused Lambesis to try to hire someone else to kill his estranged wife credible.
The second issue is: Lambesis has now admitted that he attempted to hire a man to kill Meggan Lambesis. So do any mitigating circumstances matter at all? From The Washington Times article:
“Mr. Collins… said that a ‘roid rage’ defense could have a greater impact on sentencing than on a verdict.
“Last June, the attorney for a Virginia man who pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the death of his wife argued that steroid use and coffee addiction caused his client to have ‘diminished capacity’ at the time of the killing.
“A Franklin County Circuit Court judge sentenced the man to 40 years for the murder — but with 18 years suspended.
“‘I’ve seen situations where the consumption of steroids has been used to mitigate some criminal behavior,’ Mr. Collins said. ‘Not as a complete defense, but a diminished sentence.
“‘I’ve seen it also used in the context of a quote-unquote addiction to help steer a convicted defendant toward rehabilitation as a focus of sentence. But every case has different facts, so every case needs to be assessed individually.’”
And even if a jury and/or judge finds the roid rage defense plausible… will his fans? It seems clear now that there are people so devoted to Lambesis that they will undoubtedly look for any excuse to let him off the hook. Speaking for myself, I have to say… I find Lambesis’ admission of guilt, regardless of circumstances, heartbreaking. There is not going to be a happy ending to this story. I mean, Meggan Lambesis is in hiding. I just don’t know how you look at what Tim Lambesis did and see it as forgivable.
Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.
[via Metal Injection]