Jury finds Matthew Naquin guilty in Max Gruver hazing trial

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A jury has decided Matthew Naquin is guilty of negligent homicide in the 2017 hazing death of fraternity pledge Max Gruver. The 6-person jury reached a verdict on Wednesday, July 17.

Matthew Naquin | Photo Source: WAFB

Naquin faces a maximum sentence of fives years in prison. His sentencing will be set within the next 60 days, and his bond is set at $10,000.

Prosecutors had also charged Naquin with obstruction of justice after he allegedly deleted hundreds of files from his cell phone less than an hour after a search warrant was issued for it. However, prosecutors said they won’t go forward on that charge until the negligent homicide case is resolved.

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled on July 6 that witness statements filed by Naquin’s defense alleging Gruver drank alcohol and smoked marijuana excessively during his month on LSU’s campus will be admissible as evidence.

Gruver 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 answered questions wrongly about the fraternity.

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 indicates 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 than on the night he died.

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