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Former LSU student sentenced to 5 years in death of fraternity pledge Max Gruver

November 20, 2019 - 12:15 pm
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(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- A former Louisiana State University student has been sentenced to five years in prison in the 2017 hazing death of fraternity pledge Max Gruver.

Matthew Naquin, 21, who was found guilty in July of negligent homicide in Gruver's death, will likely serve two and a half years because half of his sentence was suspended, and his time behind bars could be cut down even more for good behavior or through jail programs, ABC Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ reported. Officials will check in June 2020 to determine whether he will remain in prison.

Gruver, 18, died in September 2017 following a night of drinking with Phi Delta Theta, in which he was hazed. The day after he died, Gruver's blood alcohol level was still .496, four times the legal limit, his father, Stephen Gruver, told ABC News in December 2017.

Naquin, who was a member of Phi Delta Theta, he will serve three years of probation and must complete 1,000 hours of community service and a pay $1,000 fine after he is released, according to WBRZ.

During the sentencing hearing Wednesday morning, the Gruver family requested that Naquin be given a full sentence, WBRZ reported.

Naquin spoke during the hearing, offering condolences to the family and describing hazing as a "bad" and "dangerous" tradition that must be stopped.

"This whole process has been quite the journey," Naquin said, WBRZ reported. "I am no doubt a different man than the boy that stood at this podium and declared not guilty."

In total, four fraternity members, including Naquin, were charged in the wake of Gruver's death, but Naquin was the only one charged with felony negligent homicide.

Sean-Paul Gott, 22, and Ryan Isto, 20, were sentenced to 30 days in jail in July on hazing charges but each served two weeks before they were released, according to WBRZ. Patrick Andrew Forde, 22, who testified as a witness for the prosecution at Naquin's trial, has not yet been prosecuted for the hazing charge against him.

In July, prosecutors also charged Naquin with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting 700 photos and texts pertaining to the case on the same day a judge approved a search warrant, which included a search on his phone. Naquin has pleaded not guilty to that charge.

Naquin's attorney did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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