10 LSU Fraternity Members Arrested After Pledge Dies Following Alleged ‘Bible Study’ Drinking Game
Maxwell Gruver wanted to be a part of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. So when the 18-year-old freshman began pledge week at Louisiana State University, he was willing to go through initiation with some other pledges.
But according to arrest warrants obtained by PEOPLE, things went disastrously wrong last month.
The warrants allege that Gruver and some other pledges received a group text on September 13, inviting them to a “Bible Study.” Then, according to the warrants, the pledges were ordered to recite the Greek alphabet and answer trivia questions. If they made any mistakes, they were “forced to chug hard liquor,” the warrants allege.
Gruver later died at a Baton Rouge hospital. According to the autopsy report, he died of “acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration.” His blood alcohol level was .495 — more than six times the legal limit.
Earlier this week, the LSU Police issued warrants for the arrest of 10 men, ranging in age from 18 to 22. The men turned themselves in on Wednesday.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
One of the men, 19-year-old Matthew Alexander Naquin, was charged with negligent homicide. The other nine suspects have been charged with misdemeanor hazing.
“This is a very serious matter involving allegations of dangerous behavior and a gross disregard for the health and safety of a fellow student,” Linda Southall of the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Naquin’s bail was set at $10,000. The other nine defendants were held on $5,000 bail, PEOPLE has confirmed. None of them have entered a plea. Naquin’s attorney did not return PEOPLE’s messages for comment.
• PEOPLE’s special edition True Crime Stories: 35 Real Cases That Inspired the Show Law & Order is on sale now.
Some of the other defendants have retained lawyers, while others haven’t. None of them have spoken publicly.
The Phi Delta Theta fraternity took action on Wednesday and kicked the students out of the fraternity. “Actions such as those described in the charges filed today are completely inconsistent with the values of Phi Delta Theta and in full violation of our established and communicated risk management policies,” the fraternity said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “Phi Delta Theta has formally removed the membership of those charged in this incident. This action effectively severs ties with those alleged to be involved.”
LSU President F. King Alexander also issued a statement. “Maxwell Gruver’s family will mourn his loss for the rest of their lives, and several other students are now facing serious consequences — all due to a series of poor decisions,” Alexander said. “The ramifications of hazing can be devastating.”