BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Matthew Naquin, the former LSU student found guilty of negligent homicide in the 2017 hazing death of fraternity pledge Max Gruver, was sentenced to prison on Nov. 20.
A six-person jury found Naquin guilty on July 17. Naquin was originally supposed to take on Oct. 15, however, a judge delayed the sentencing because one of Naquin’s relatives was hospitalized with a serious illness.
Gruver, 18, of Roswell, Georgia, died from alcohol poisoning in September of 2017 after a hazing ritual called “Bible Study,” in which Phi Delta Theta pledges were required to chug hard liquor if they wrongly answered questions about the fraternity.
Judge Beau Higginbotham sentenced Naquin to the five-year maximum sentence, with two and a half years suspended. Naquin was also sentenced to three years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service work.
Naquin will go to prison on Nov. 20 and bond out. District Attorney Hillar Moore says Naquin will then return after a series of appeals, likely after more than a year. He will likely serve no more than 10 months, with a strong possibility for just 4-5 months, according to WAFB’s Matt Houston.
As part of his sentence, Naquin must also write a letter of apology to the Gruver’s parents and present a one-hour hazing talk to high schools a handful of times.
An autopsy revealed Gruver’s blood-alcohol level to be more than six times the legal limit to drive in Louisiana at the time of his death. THC, the chemical found in marijuana, was also found in his system.
The defense team’s filing indicated Gruver’s roommate said Max was “sober for maybe five of those nights” during the month he lived on LSU’s campus. One witness told investigators Gruver appeared more intoxicated at another event other than on the night he died.
Phi Delta Theta has been banned from LSU’s campus until at least 2033.