Affidavit says Max Gruver was targeted during alleged hazing incident
BATON ROUGE - Arrest records from the LSU Police Department reveal that 18-year-old Max Gruver received the bulk of the punishment on the night of an alleged hazing incident which preceded his death.
Phi Delta Theta pledges got messages telling them to show up to the fraternity house for a "bible study" around 10 p.m. Sept. 13, according an arrest affidavit. Police learned that "bible study" consisted of fraternity members quizzing pledges and forcing them to drink hard liquor for every incorrect answer.
Police say fraternity members Matthew Naquin, Sean Paul Gott and Ryan Isto, three of the 10 arrested in connection with Gruver's death, led the hazing, according to the arrest affidavits.
Several pledges and active members told police that 19-year-old Naquin, who is the only one charged with negligent homicide, was the "most aggressive by far" of the three, with other members telling him to "cut it out" and "slow it down".
"Are you ready for bible study?" Naquin allegedly shouted as he walked down to the first floor of the house. "Y'all better do well, I'm already f**ked up."
One of the witnesses told police that Naquin did not like Gruver because he frequently ran late for events, with another saying Naquin had mentioned wanting to cut Gruver from the fraternity days earlier.
A third witness said Naquin was "taking it too far" as he repeatedly forced Gruver to take pulls of alcohol, specifically a 190-proof liquor called "Diesel", for failing to recite the Greek alphabet.
Reports say most pledges were forced to take about three or four pulls of alcohol, but Gruver was allegedly forced to take anywhere from 10 to 12. Police say each of these pulls lasted about three to five seconds.
The "bible study" allegedly lasted for about an hour and a half, and Gruver was left passed out on a couch overnight. A witness says members returned the next morning to find that Gruver barely had a pulse and they were unable to tell if he was breathing.
Gruver was then taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The East Baton Rouge coroner says Gruver had a blood-alcohol level of .495 at the time of his death.