LSU hazing trial starts today
The trial of former LSU fraternity member Matthew Naquin, who was charged with negligent homicide in the alleged hazing death of Max Gruver in 2017, begins today.
Legal analyst Tim Meche says the proceedings will likely be difficult to watch for both families as the prosecution and defense take turns tearing down the character of both Gruver and Naquin to shift responsibility for the death.
“The defense will try to show that Mr. Gruver was a habitual user of drugs and alcohol, and the prosecution will try to show that Mr. Naquin was a bad guy in general.”
Naquin is accused of pressuring Gruver into drinking himself to death in an initiation ceremony for new recruits to the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Phi Delta Theta has since been banned from campus.
While the two sides take turns attacking Gruver and Naquin’s character, Meche says it’ll be up to the judge to keep the proceedings focused on the most important question.
“It will be up to the judge to stick to the issue at hand, which is did Mr. Naquin cause the death of Max Gruver.”
The defense recently lost a challenge that will allow the prosecution to point out that Naquin deleted 700 texts and photos from his phone after he fell under investigation.
Meche says the trial will likely hinge on the testimony of the other members of the fraternity who were witnesses that night…
“They will describe what happened in that fraternity house that night, and what happened previously that contributed to the death of Mr. Gruver.”
Other Phi Delta Theta members were charged in the wake of the incident, but only Naquin faces felony charges.
A six-person jury chosen in East Baton Rouge Parish will decide Naquin’s fate and the trial is expected to last over a week.