Attorneys for accused fraternity member call Max Gruver 'party animal', claim he was rarely sober
BATON ROUGE - Defense attorneys for a former LSU fraternity member facing a negligent homicide charge in the 2017 death of Max Gruver claim the LSU student was responsible for his own drinking death.
Documents submitted by Matthew Naquin's attorneys Tuesday include several witness testimonies claiming that Gruver was an excessive drinker well before the night of hazing that killed him. A large number of the comments appeared to come from fraternity members who claim to have regularly interacted with the 18-year-old student in the weeks leading up to his death.
Some of the unnamed witnesses said that Gruver was apparently sheltered before coming to LSU, and he "went overboard" once he was away from home. The defense goes on to call Gruver a "party animal", citing comments from witnesses claiming that he was sober only five days of the month that he spent at LSU.
They also claimed that Gruver regularly drank excessively without goading and was a frequent marijuana user, allegedly going as far as to buy a gas mask bong at a shop near campus. The document goes on to claim Gruver made a habit of drinking to the point of vomiting and would often pass out in the Phi Delta house, much like he did on the night he died. The filing concludes that Max showed up high to the deadly night of "Bible Study" and that his drinking that night was "typical Max".
Arrest records from 2017 suggested Naquin was the ring leader of the hazing ritual on the night Gruver drank himself to death. He is the only one of the eight arrested former fraternity members facing a negligent homicide charge for his role in Gruver's death.
A trial date has yet to be set as defense and prosecutors grapple over whether Naquin will be forced to give up access to his cell phone.
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