Former FAMU band member Dante Martin, who was the alleged ring leader of a hazing ritual that resulted in the death of drum major Robert Champion, was convicted of manslaughter and felony hazing in a Florida court Friday.
Prosecutors said Dante Martin, 27, was known as “the president of Bus C” and organized the initiations that required fellow band members to try to make their way through a pounding gauntlet of fists, drumsticks and mallets from the front of the bus to the back in November 2011 after a football game.
Champion complained of trouble breathing and vomited after the ritual, then collapsed and died in a parking lot. His death cast a pall over the school’s nationally acclaimed band, which had played at Super Bowls and before U.S. presidents. The band was suspended for more than a year after the death and several school officials resigned in the aftermath.
Martin’s sentencing is scheduled for January 9. He could face a maximum of 15 years in prison.