A Louisiana grand jury on Thursday indicted four students after police accused them of forcing an 18-year-old LSU student to participate in a deadly binge drinking session as part of a hazing ritual, according to NBC News.
The jury indicted Matthew Alexander Naquin, 20, Sean-Paul Gott, 21, Ryan Isto, 19, and Patrick Forde, 21, as being involved in the tragic September 2017 death of Maxwell Gruver, who was pronounced dead after leaving a Phi Delta Theta event, as previously reported by CrimeOnline.
Naquin has been indicted on a felony negligent homicide charge, which could see him spending five years in prison. The remaining three each face a misdemeanor charge of hazing, which could lead to 30 days in jail.
Authorities originally arrested ten frat members for the incident, as previously reported by CrimeOnline, but the grand jury opted to charge just the four students.
Witnesses told police that they saw Naquin single Gruver out on the night-in-question, forcing him to drink more than any other pledge, with some stating that the 18-year-old imbibed as many as 20 drinks.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore has expressed regret over the state’s lax hazing laws, noting that Gruver’s family is working to increase penalties for the crime so future families will obtain stricter justice.
“Our hazing statute is inadequate to cover the death of their son,” Moore said. “It’s not an appropriate penalty.”
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark concluded that Gruver died of acute alcohol intoxication, along with aspiration. In other words, he had inhaled vomit and other fluid into his lungs. An autopsy showed the 18-year-old’s blood-alcohol content at the time of his death was 0.495 percent, with the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving in Louisiana being 0.08 percent.
Naquin’s attorney has indicated that he is ready to take the case to trial.
[Featured Image:Maxwell Gruver, Matthew Alexander Naquin, Sean-Paul Gott, Ryan Isto, and Patrick Forde/East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office]