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Former student convicted in hazing death at Lousiana State University fraternity

Matthew Naquin, 21, has been found guilty of negligent homicide in the 2017 death of Max Gruver, 18, a pledge at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity

A former student at Louisiana State University has been convicted of negligent homicide in the 2017 alcohol-related hazing death of 18-year-old fraternity pledge Max Gruver.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that an East Baton Rouge Parish jury took about an hour to find Matthew Naquin, 21, guilty.

Gruver, of Roswell, Ga., had been attending LSU for about a month when he died of alcohol poisoning in September 2017 after what authorities described as a hazing ritual — dubbed "Bible study" — at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house.

Gruver and other Phi Delta Theta pledges were told to chug 190-proof liquor if they gave wrong answers to questions about the fraternity or could not recite the Greek alphabet. 

Gruver died the following morning. His blood-alcohol level was 0.495%, which is more than six times the legal limit to drive in Louisiana.

Prosecutors say Naquin, from Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, was primarily responsible for Gruver's death.

Trial testimony and court documents indicate Naquin was warned by members of the fraternity — just two days before Gruver died — to tone down his interactions with pledges. He was told his actions with pledges were extreme and dangerous.

Naquin's former LSU roommate, Ryan Matthew Isto, 20, of Butte, Mont., and ex-LSU student Sean-Paul Gott, 22, of Lafayette, La., pleaded no contest last year to misdemeanor hazing and testified last week.

Phi Delta Theta has been banned from the LSU campus until at least 2033 as a result of the investigation into the events leading to Gruver's death.

"It won't bring Max back... it's not something we're ever going to be happy about but at the same time it's justice for our son and for the man who caused his death," Rae Ann Gruver said.

Sentencing for Naquin has been scheduled for Oct. 16. He faces anywhere from probation to five years in prison.

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