Former LSU student bonds out of jail after negligent homicide conviction in fraternity pledge's death

WWL Newsroom
July 18, 2019 - 2:01 pm
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Former LSU student Matthew Naquin has posted bond and is out of jail following his conviction for negligent homicide in the alcohol-related hazing death of 18-year-old fraternity pledge Max Gruver.   

Naquin is scheduled to be sentenced in October 16.  He faces up to five years in prison.  East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore is confident that Judge Beau Higginbotham will make the right call when it comes to sentencing.

“I have no ill will against this defendant, he’s got a fine family, well-educated young man,” said Moore. “You have to deal with the facts that we have and we’ll let the judge make that decision.”

After sentencing, Naquin’s attorney, John McLindon plans to appeal the conviction. McLindon says he’s shocked by the outcome considering how many other people were involved, yet his client was the only person facing a felony charge.

“I think when all of the boys were interviewed the next day and they said who was in charge, they all said Matthew was the loudest and he was, he was very loud, but that doesn’t mean he forced alcohol into anybody and it doesn’t mean he gave any more alcohol than anybody else,” said McLindon.

McLindon said Naquin shouldn’t be the sole scapegoat for Gruver’s death.

“This is so bad, this is so unfair, I'm sick to my stomach,” said McLindon.

Gruver's mother calls Naquin’s conviction justice.  Gruver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.495-percent after a night of heavy drinking in 2017.  Rae Ann Gruver and her husband Stephen helped pass new anti-hazing laws last year.

“Hazing needs to end, hazing kills, hazing seriously injures people both psychologically and physically, so Max’s story is what we use to hopefully change peoples minds that it needs to end, said Rae Ann Gruver.

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