Ten fac­ing ar­rest over death of fra­ter­nity pledge

TEENAGER DIED AFTER NIGHT OF DRINK­ING

Lethbridge Herald - - HEADLINE NEWS - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS — BA­TON ROUGE, LA.

Ten peo­ple will be ar­rested on haz­ing charges in the death of a Louisiana State Univer­sity fra­ter­nity pledge after a night of drink­ing, LSU of­fi­cials said Wednesday.

One of the 10 sus­pects — Matthew Alexan­der Naquin, 19, of Bo­erne, Texas — also faces a neg­li­gent homi­cide charge in the death last month of 18year-old Maxwell Gru­ver, a fresh­man from Roswell, Ge­or­gia, LSU said in a state­ment.

Eight of the sus­pects are LSU stu­dents and were ac­tive mem­bers of the fra­ter­nity, ac­cord­ing to univer­sity spokesman Ernie Bal­lard. He said all 10 are ex­pected to be jailed Wednesday once they turn them­selves in to LSU po­lice. The haz­ing charges against all 10 sus­pects, whose ages range from 18 to 21, are mis­de­meanours.

“The LSU Po­lice Depart­ment has com­mu­ni­cated with the Gru­ver fam­ily through­out the in­ves­ti­ga­tion process, and the univer­sity has also been in touch with them re­gard­ing to­day’s ar­rests,” LSU’s state­ment says.

Gru­ver died at a Ba­ton Rouge hos­pi­tal on Sept. 14 after Phi Delta Theta mem­bers found him ly­ing on a couch at the fra­ter­nity house and couldn’t tell if he was breath­ing, po­lice said.

A coro­ner said hos­pi­tal tests found a “highly el­e­vated” blood-al­co­hol level in Gru­ver’s body.

Wit­nesses told po­lice that the fra­ter­nity’s pledges were forced to drink to ex­cess on the night be­fore Gru­ver’s death, dur­ing a game or ini­ti­a­tion rit­ual called “Bi­ble Study” that re­quired pledges to drink if they in­cor­rectly an­swered ques­tions about the fra­ter­nity.

A wit­ness told po­lice that Gru­ver was “highly in­tox­i­cated” when fra­ter­nity mem­bers laid him on a couch and left the house some­time early on Sept. 14. Around 11 a.m., mem­bers found Gru­ver still on the couch with a weak pulse, po­lice said. Two peo­ple drove him to a hos­pi­tal, where he died later that day.

The fra­ter­nity’s national of­fice said it closed the chap­ter after Gru­ver’s death.

The nine sus­pects fac­ing only haz­ing charges are Zachary Castillo, of Gretna; Sean Paul Gott, of Lafayette; Sean Pen­ni­son, Man­dev­ille; Hud­son Kirk­patrick, Ba­ton Rouge; El­liott Eaton, of New Or­leans; Pa­trick Forde, of West­wood, Mas­sachusetts; Ni­cholas Tavlli, of Cy­press, Texas; Zachary Hall, of Char­lotte, North Carolina; and Ryan Isto, who is from Canada. Gott and Forde aren’t en­rolled at LSU, ac­cord­ing to Bal­lard.

Sev­eral pledges told po­lice they re­ceived a group text mes­sage stat­ing there would be ‘Bi­ble Study’ at the house” at 10 p.m. on Sept. 13. In­ves­ti­ga­tors seized a cell­phone belonging to the fra­ter­nity mem­ber who sent the group text mes­sage about the “Bi­ble Study” ses­sion.

Po­lice ex­e­cuted search war­rants at the fra­ter­nity house and at Gru­ver’s dorm room. Among the items seized from the fra­ter­nity house were a duf­fel bag filled with beer cans, bot­tles of liquor, a glass smok­ing pipe, a “pledge test,” clean­ing sup­plies and two strands of white knot­ted rope, ac­cord­ing to a search war­rant re­turn.

Po­lice also found de­vices that may have cap­tured video footage inside the fra­ter­nity house “dur­ing the times of the events,” a po­lice af­fi­davit says.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tors also learned that there were sev­eral text mes­sages sent about (Gru­ver’s) con­di­tion,” the af­fi­davit said.

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