Affidavit says Max Gruver was targeted during alleged hazing ritual
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.
According to an arrest affidavit, Phi Delta Theta pledges got messages Sept. 13 telling them to show up to the fraternity house for a "bible study" that night. Investigators later 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 Gruver's death, led the hazing.
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. Records say other members reportedly told him to "cut it out" and "slow it down" when they thought things were getting out of hand.
"Are you ready for bible study? Y'all better do well. I'm already f**ked up," shouted Naquin, according to one of the witnesses.
One person told police that Naquin disliked Gruver because he frequently ran late for events, with another saying Naquin had mentioned wanting to cut the freshman from the fraternity just 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.
Most pledges were allegedly forced to take about three or four pulls of alcohol, but investigators believe Gruver was forced to take anywhere from 10 to 12 pulls. Police say each of these pulls lasted about three to five seconds.
The ritual 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 taken to a hospital that morning where he was later pronounced dead. The East Baton Rouge coroner has said that Gruver had a blood-alcohol level of .495 at the time of his death.
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