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.

Confirmed Cases: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5269106
DeSoto332627
Madison229756
Harrison215232
Rankin214628
Jackson199434
Jones177457
Forrest164053
Washington149232
Lauderdale132988
Lee123930
Neshoba119788
Lamar112112
Oktibbeha105435
Lowndes98932
Warren96427
Scott95517
Bolivar94832
Copiah91724
Panola91211
Sunflower90822
Lafayette88111
Holmes84747
Leflore84059
Pike83232
Grenada81320
Yazoo78611
Leake76825
Lincoln74540
Pontotoc7377
Wayne73321
Simpson71227
Monroe70250
Coahoma66310
Tate65023
Marion60118
Covington58811
Adams58425
Marshall5718
Winston57115
George5475
Union53113
Newton51611
Attala49824
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48536
Walthall45318
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee41910
Claiborne40013
Smith38013
Calhoun3788
Jasper3768
Clay37013
Alcorn3574
Prentiss3426
Hancock33614
Tishomingo3204
Lawrence3135
Tippah31212
Yalobusha31210
Itawamba30710
Clarke30025
Montgomery2933
Tunica2786
Humphreys27111
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Quitman2251
Kemper22315
Perry2227
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis2026
Webster19912
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1523
Choctaw1274
Benton1250
Franklin1162
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 90890

Reported Deaths: 1611
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Columbus
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Oxford
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather