Former LSU student drops appeal in frat hazing death case

A former Louisiana State University student and Phi Delta Theta member convicted in the hazing death of a pledge has waived his right to appeal.

Matthew Naquin, 21, of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, was convicted in July 2019 of negligent homicide in the hazing death of 18-year-old Max Gruver.

Naquin waived his right to appeal his conviction Tuesday in exchange for an agreement from prosecutors to drop an obstruction of justice charge that carried up to five years in prison, The Advocate reported.

Prosecutors accused Naquin of deleting files from his phone during the criminal investigation after a search warrant was issued.

Naquin was sentenced in November 2019 to five years in prison, but a judge suspended all but 2½ years. He started that sentence Monday.

Gruver, from the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, Georgia, had been at LSU for a month when he died of alcohol poisoning.

Witnesses said Naquin didn’t like Gruver and singled him out during a hazing ritual at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house. Naquin ordered Gruver to chug a bottle of 190-proof liquor in September 2017. 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.

Phi Delta Theta is banned from the LSU campus until at least 2033 as a result of the events leading to Gruver’s death.