Frat bro Matthew Naquin found guilty of LSU freshman ‘Bible Study’ pledge alcohol hazing death of Max Gruver. A study in toxic frat culture.
A former Louisiana State University student on Wednesday was found guilty of negligent homicide in the alcohol-related hazing death of a fraternity pledge two years ago.
Jurors took less than an hour to convict Matthew Naquin, 21, who now faces anywhere from probation to five years in prison at his Oct. 16 sentencing, The Advocate reported.
Prosecutors said Naquin was primarily responsible for the death of 18-year-old Max Raymond Gruver — who had been at LSU a month when he died of alcohol poisoning, the morning after a Phi Delta Theta hazing ritual dubbed “Bible Study.”
He and other pledges were forced to chug 190-proof liquor during the Sept. 13, 2017 event, if they didn’t know the answers to questions about the frat or couldn’t recite the Greek alphabet.
A toxicologist testified that Gruver was a ‘dead man walking’ after downing the booze.
His blood-alcohol level was at 0.495%, more than six times the legal driving limit in Louisiana when he died.
An autopsy also detected THC, the chemical found in marijuana, in his system.
Defining masculinity and college acceptance amongst ‘brothers’:
‘The goal here is stop hazing of any sort, but definitely to stop hazing that leads to death,’ East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said outside the courtroom Wednesday.
‘It won’t bring Max back… it’s not something we’re ever going to be happy about but at the same time it’s justice for our son and for the man who caused his death,’ Rae Ann Gruver said Wednesday.
During the trial, James Patrick Canter, who pledged the frat with Gruver, said he could tell his pal ‘had not had much experience with drinking’ though they did frequent bars during his tenure at LSU. The roommate also told of Gruyer missing classes as of a result of drinking bouts.
It remained unclear to what degree the drinking and partying was an affliction that Gruyer carried and to what degree he felt compelled to morph into certain stereotypes in a bid to find acceptance at university and realize his new found male adulthood.
Two days before Gruver died, other frat boys warned Naquin to tone down his behavior with pledges, which they said was extreme and dangerous, according to court documents and trail testimony. Which is to wonder to what degree do frats encourage and condone toxic behavior and attitudes?
Of note, Naquin was also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting thousands of files from his phone during the criminal investigation. That case is pending.
Naquin’s former LSU roommate, Ryan Matthew Isto, 20, of Butte, Montana, and ex-LSU student Sean-Paul Gott, 22, of Lafayette, pleaded no contest last year to misdemeanor hazing. Another former LSU student Patrick Andrew Forde, 22, was also charged with hazing.
Phi Delta Theta has been banned from the LSU campus until at least 2033.
Matthew Naquin has bonded out of jail after a jury found him guilty of negligent homicide. His bond was set at $10,000. Below is his new mugshot. pic.twitter.com/6masfP6Qmy
— Kennedi Walker (@_KennediWalker) July 17, 2019