Alleged details emerge in death of LSU freshman Max Gruver

Alleged details emerge in death of LSU freshman, Max Gruver

BATON ROUGE, La. - Newly released documents reveal more details about what allegedly led to the death of LSU freshman Max Gruver. Also included is the shocking toxicology results, which show Gruver drank far more than the amount typically considered deadly.

"It's an accusation at this point," Michael Fiser, attorney who is representing student Ryan Isto, said. "All the facts are not in."

As each of the ten people charged in Max Gruver's death turned himself in Wednesday, more details emerged as to what may have happened inside LSU's Phi Delta Theta house September 13th.

"I'm speaking only for my client," said David Bourland, who's representing student Zachary Hall. "I know he did nothing that was inappropriate or that was illegal."

"I have my client's version of the story and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else's version of the story," said Franz Borghardt, attorney representing Sean Pennison, said. "But we're going to do it in a court of law."

According to one of the arrest affidavits, around 9:30 p.m. "about 18-20 pledges showed up at the house. Sean Pennison (active member) took the pledges cell phones. The pledges were told to get a solo cup of lemonade, the lemonade would be used as a chaser.'"

"Several pledges stated that Matthew Naquin (active member), Sean-Paul Gott, Ryan Isto (active member), and Patrick Forde (former member) camde down from the 2nd floor. Naquin was yelling 'Are you ready for bible study?' Naquin also stated 'Y'all better do well, I'm already ****** up.'"

As pledges went upstairs, "Gott threw mustard and hot sauce on the pledges. Once upstairs the pledges were told to line up in the hallway and place their nose and toes against the wall. The lights were off with a strobe light flashing and loud music playing." Another affidavit states pledges were also made to do 'wall sits' while members walked across their knees and one pledge accidently got a black eye after being hit with a bottle.

The alleged hazing event lasted for about two hours. Documents state pledges answered questions about the fraternity and recited the Greek Alphabet, drinking alcohol if they answered wrong. The affidavits also name three who allegedly led the hazing, including Matthew Naquin who "was the most aggressive" and was told by others to "cut it out" and "slow down."

Naquin's arrest affidavit includes statements from several active members. 'Active Member 1' claimed "he told Naquin and Gott to "cut it out" because he felt it was getting out of hand." 'Active Member 2' claimed "Naquin was aggressive and yelling at pledges to drink." 'Active Member 3' claimed he "believes Gruver kept messing up the alphabet and Naquin was 'forcing' him to drink each time he messed up'"

The affidavit also stated that several pledges who also participated, one claiming that he "believed Naquin and Gott were getting on Gruver more because he was always late for events" and "felt that Naquin was 'taking it too far.'" 'Pledge 3' in the document states "Gruver was made to take at least 10-12 'pulls' of 190-proof Diesel. Most pledges stated they only took 3-4 at most.'"

An autopsy report shows Gruver's alcohol level was .495 percent, more than six times the legal limit. Medical officials say that number is highly alarming. LSU Health Professor of Pharmacology, Peter Winsauer, calls the death a tragedy.

"Most people know what's legal is .08," he said. ".4 leads to a 50 percent lethality rate, .4. So he was over the level that produces death in 50 percent of the people."

Winsauer also adds at that level, someone is most likely blacked out with no "conscious memory of what's happening."

"If they're on their feet that's a huge problem," he said. "Someone could hand them a drink and they'll consume it even though they'll have no memory of drinking it. As soon as you consume more alcohol than you have enzyme to metabolize it, it's going to accumulate and that's likely what happened in this individual. He had consumed so much alcohol that he had consumed a greater amount than could possibly be metabolized by that young man's body. So the levels were extraordinarily high."

With ten arrests so far in the case, legal teams are looking ahead.

"It'll have to be screened by the District Attorney to see if it has any merit and see if they want to proceed with formal charges."

Wednesday afternoon, District Attorney Hillar Moore, released the following statement:

"With the arrests made today by the LSUPD on hazing and negligent homicide charges, the Office of the District Attorney will now review all reports, interviews and evidence collected for all possible criminal conduct. This is a very serious matter involving allegations of dangerous behavior and a gross disregard for the health and safety of a fellow student. We ask that if anyone has any information relevant to this case, please contact my office or LSUPD. This matter will take considerable time to unfold and complete. I appreciate the efforts by the LSUPD to conduct a comprehensive investigation. The speed and outcome will be dictated by the facts, evidence and our judicial system. We will be fair to all involved including the Gruver family and those alleged to have committed these acts. Those arrested are presumed innocent. I have been in contact with the parents of Max Gruver. They are still struggling with the loss of their son, which is made worse by the media coverage surrounding the case. They simply want to know the facts and circumstances of their son's death. They once again respectfully request to be left alone at this time and do not wish to make any comment. I am sure that there are many legitimate questions that the family, media and public have concerning all aspects of this case. Unfortunately, most questions will not be able to be discussed or answered until this case is concluded."

It's a lengthy process, one that's tough for all parties involved.

"There's not going to be any winners in this," said Borghardt. "My client is terribly upset Max died, and we mourn his loss."

© 2017 WWL-TV


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