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Former fraternity member sentenced to prison, probation in hazing death of Max Gruver

3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago Tuesday, November 19 2019 Nov 19, 2019 November 19, 2019 11:00 PM November 19, 2019 in Crime
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – A former fraternity member accused of pressuring an 18-year-old LSU student to consume alcohol to the point of drinking himself to death has received a five-year prison sentence and three years supervised probation. 

Matthew Naquin, who was found guilty of negligent homicide in the 2017 hazing death of LSU freshman, Max Gruver, is expected to serve two and a half years behind bars. Though he was sentenced to five years, half of that time is suspended. His prison time could ultimately be cut down to less than a year with good behavior or through other jail programs. After his release, Naquin will be placed on probation for three years.

In addition to this, Naquin must serve 1,000 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine. Naquin was released on bond Wednesday afternoon and will stay out until an appeal of his case is complete.

Officials plan to check back in with Naquin in June 2020 to determine if he can be released.  

Just before 9 a.m. this morning, Naquin was seen headed to court, walking alongside his defense attorney, John McLindon.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Beau Higginbotham first listened to Gruver's family request a full sentence for Naquin.

Gruver's mother, Rae Ann, said a five-year sentence was not enough to make up for the pain, sorrow and depression they'd experienced as a result of their son's death.   

Naquin spoke for himself next. He offered condolences to the Gruver family and went on to say many people don't realize how "complex" hazing is. He also called it "bad" and "dangerous," saying it must be stopped. Naquin went on to claim he been victimized by the media since his arrest.

“This whole process has been quite the journey. I am no doubt a different man than the boy that stood at this podium and declared not guilty....," Naquin said. "I have learned what it’s like to be on the other side... to be painted a murderer by the newspapers.”

During Naquin's trial in July, dozens of witnesses who took the stand painted a similar picture of what happened during the hours leading up to Gruver’s death.

Naquin was described as screaming at pledges the night Gruver died, one person even saying Naquin seemed to have a “mild dislike” of the LSU freshman because he “did not fit in.” Yet another witness testified to watching Naquin shoot pledges with an air-soft gun and hearing Naquin say, “I can do whatever I want.”    

The six-person jury came to its unanimous guilty verdict less than an hour after convening.

Two other LSU students, Ryan Isto and Sean Paul Gott, were also charged and sentenced for their role in the hazing-incident that lead to Gruver's death. Both were sentenced to 30 days in jail, which they served two weeks of before being released.

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