Nicholas Papantoniou, who played drums with Hatebreed between 1996-1997, has been found guilty of felony murder and faces up to 90 years in jail.
The New Haven Register reports the drummer was also found guilty of criminal possession of a firearm and first-degree burglary after invading the home of 56-year-old Larry Dildy in October, 2014, who is the man he has been found guilty of murdering.
Papantoniou claimed he was an unwilling participant:
In his testimony, Papantoniou said he was an unwitting participant in [William] Coutermash’s plan to drive to Dildy’s house on Circular Avenue and steal money or pills from him. The two men drove there on Oct. 19, 2014, a Sunday morning, because they thought Dildy would be in church. [..]
Papantoniou told the jury that Coutermash had said he wanted to collect some money from somebody and that when they reached Dildy’s house, Coutermash told the defendant to follow him inside. Papantoniou quoted him saying: “Watch my back.”
Papantoniou said when they reached the top of the stairs to Dildy’s second-floor apartment, Coutermash quickly gave him a gun, “like handing off a football.” The defendant said Coutermash then banged on the door, Dildy let him in and they began arguing about a $400 debt Dildy supposedly owed Coutermash.
According to Papantoniou, he told the two men to “chill, chill, chill, chill,” but that Coutermash had already stabbed Dildy repeatedly. Dildy, who weighed about 300 pounds and had become enraged, then charged at Papantoniou as Coutermash fled, according to the defendant’s account. Papantoniou said the gun went off twice accidentally as he and Dildy struggled over the weapon.
According to testimony from family members of Dildy, they only heard one person inside the house and not two like Papantoniou claimed. Papantoniou's accomplice, Coutermash entered a plea deal with the district attorney for his cooperation, where the felony murder charges were dropped and instead he pleaded guilty to accessory to first-degree manslaughter and accessory to first-degree burglary.
Sentencing for Papantoniou is scheduled for May 26.
Papantoniou played under the alias of Nickel P. with Hatebreed right before their debut album, Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire. He never recorded with the band.