Grand jury indicts 4 in death of university frat pledge
Baton Rouge, La. – A grand jury indicted four people Thursday in the death of a Louisiana State University student whose blood-alcohol content was more than six times the legal limit for driving.
The state grand jury issued the indictments six months after 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver died at a hospital after a night of drinking at the Phi Delta Theta house on LSU’s campus. Fraternity members found the freshman from Roswell, Georgia, lying on a couch and couldn’t tell if he was breathing.
The jury indicted Matthew Alexander Naquin, 20, of Boerne, Texas on a felony negligent homicide charge, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. Three others were indicted on a misdemeanor charge of hazing: Sean-Paul Gott, 21, of Lafayette, Louisiana; Ryan Isto, 19, of Baton Rouge; and Patrick Forde, 21, of Westwood, Massachusetts. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to a maximum of 30 days in jail.
Police originally arrested 10 people, but presented charges to the grand jury against nine. Ultimately, the grand jury indicted only four.
Witnesses said that Naquin singled out Gruver during a hazing ritual involving 18 to 20 pledges and forced him to drink more than other pledges on the night before his death, according to a police report. Naquin targeted Gruver because he was frequently late for events and forced him to drink because he was having trouble reciting the Greek alphabet, witnesses told police.
Several fraternity members said they had checked on Gruver throughout the night before they found him on a couch at the fraternity house around 9 a.m. on Sept. 14, police said.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark concluded that Gruver died of acute alcohol intoxication. An autopsy showed Gruver’s blood-alcohol content at the time of his death was 0.495 percent, Clark said. The legal blood-alcohol limit for driving in Louisiana is 0.08 percent.