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LSU fraternity pledge's death leads to 4 indictments

Four suspects in the alleged hazing death of a Louisiana State University student were indicted on Thursday, accordin...

Posted: Mar 17, 2018 1:32 PM
Updated: Mar 17, 2018 1:32 PM

Four suspects in the alleged hazing death of a Louisiana State University student were indicted on Thursday, according to the East Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office.

A grand jury indicted Matthew Naquin, 20, on charges of negligent homicide in the death of Maxwell Gruver, District Attorney Hillar Moore said in a news release. Three other men -- Sean-Paul Gott, 21; Patrick Forde, 21; and Ryan Isto, 19 -- were indicted on hazing charges.

Gruver, who was pledging the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at LSU, died in September as a result of a hazing ritual, officials said.

An investigation by police indicated Gruver was forced to drink alcohol as part of the initiation rite. The coroner's office ruled Gruver's death was accidental and caused by "acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration." His blood alcohol level was 0.495% at the time of his death, the coroner said.

Police initially issued arrest warrants in October for 10 Phi Delta Theta members as part of the investigation into Gruver's death.

The grand jury heard evidence against five other suspects. In four of those cases the grand jury could not reach a consensus on whether to charge the suspects, and in a fifth case the jury declined to bring charges, Moore's statement said. His office previously decided not to pursue criminal charges against another suspect.

Evidence was also heard relating to LSU's Phi Delta Theta chapter and whether it had a criminal liability for hazing, but the grand jury could not come to a consensus that it had.

John McLindon, an attorney representing Naquin, said he and his client were "prepared to go to trial."

"No one forced Max Gruver to drink," McLindon said. "I'm prepared to show that my client is not guilty of negligent homicide."

CNN has also reached out to lawyers for Isto and Forde. It couldn't be determined Friday afternoon whether Gott was represented by an attorney.

In Louisiana, the maximum punishment for negligent homicide is five years and a $5,000 fine, according to state law. The maximum penalty for hazing is 30 days and a $100 fine.

Gruver was allegedly forced to drink

The night before he died, Gruver was called to the fraternity house to participate in "Bible Study," according to interviews conducted by LSU police. Fraternity members asked pledges questions about the fraternity, and if they answered incorrectly, pledges were told to "take a 'pull' from a bottle of alcohol," according to arrest warrants. Pledges were also asked to do "wall sits" while fraternity members walked across their knees.

Several interviews conducted by LSU police "indicated that the pledges were forced to drink in excess," according to the warrants. By midnight, Gruver was highly intoxicated and fraternity members laid him down on a couch in the fraternity house, according to witnesses interviewed by police. They checked on him periodically until about 3 a.m.

When members checked on Gruver around 9 a.m. the next day, his pulse was weak and they couldn't tell if he was breathing. That's when Gruver was taken to a hospital, where he later died, according to warrants.

As a result of Gruver's death, the Phi Delta Theta chapter was suspended by the school and the national fraternity, which opened its own investigation into the alleged hazing.

Gruver was one of several pledges who died in 2017, including Timothy Piazza at Penn State University, Andrew Coffey at Florida State University and Matthew Ellis at Texas State University.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 497790

Reported Deaths: 9917
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34102530
DeSoto31839398
Hinds31837622
Jackson24314377
Rankin21881388
Lee15427234
Madison14525279
Jones13772241
Forrest13412250
Lauderdale11937314
Lowndes10934185
Lamar10470135
Pearl River9431237
Lafayette8454138
Hancock7697126
Washington7365156
Oktibbeha7111129
Monroe6727174
Warren6642176
Pontotoc6609101
Neshoba6606205
Panola6460131
Marshall6386132
Bolivar6266145
Union596094
Pike5784152
Alcorn5633101
Lincoln5417134
George491879
Scott470998
Tippah465381
Prentiss464181
Leflore4627143
Itawamba4596104
Adams4570119
Tate4546109
Copiah445191
Simpson4421116
Wayne438572
Yazoo438586
Covington427394
Marion4216107
Sunflower4215104
Coahoma4115104
Leake407787
Newton380879
Grenada3692108
Stone358464
Tishomingo356391
Attala330289
Jasper328265
Winston313191
Clay306375
Chickasaw296767
Clarke290694
Calhoun277945
Holmes266987
Smith262550
Yalobusha232647
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217763
Greene215548
Lawrence211140
Perry204755
Amite203954
Webster201645
Noxubee185340
Montgomery179056
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167438
Tunica158639
Benton147438
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131237
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 812694

Reported Deaths: 15142
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1139601904
Mobile721751321
Madison51923685
Shelby37240339
Baldwin37044538
Tuscaloosa34902599
Montgomery33919719
Lee23122240
Calhoun22125469
Morgan20620370
Etowah19739496
Marshall18238298
Houston17288405
St. Clair15897337
Cullman15297290
Limestone15178198
Elmore15038284
Lauderdale14125294
Talladega13692271
DeKalb12554258
Walker11069364
Blount10081174
Autauga9883146
Jackson9776177
Coffee9176188
Dale8856180
Colbert8781200
Tallapoosa7032195
Escambia6725127
Covington6672179
Chilton6580160
Russell624758
Franklin5927105
Chambers5558142
Marion4952126
Dallas4854199
Clarke472681
Pike4716105
Geneva4558126
Winston4461101
Lawrence4252117
Bibb421686
Barbour355374
Marengo333989
Monroe329962
Randolph324763
Butler323994
Pickens313581
Henry310565
Hale308787
Cherokee299457
Fayette290579
Washington250851
Cleburne245958
Crenshaw243375
Clay239767
Macon230662
Lamar215446
Conecuh185351
Coosa177738
Lowndes173161
Wilcox167038
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131138
Greene125544
Choctaw86627
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A cold front passing through our area overnight will bring into our area some of the coolest temperatures of the season so far. We will see most of the highs this weekend only in the upper 60s to lower 70s. While overnight lows will drop off down into the 40s Saturday night.
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