BATON ROUGE, La. (CBS/AP) — A young man from Massachusetts is one of ten people facing hazing charges in the death of a Louisiana State University fraternity pledge.
Maxwell Gruver, 18, a freshman from Roswell, Georgia, died Sept. 14 after Phi Delta Theta members found him lying on a couch at the fraternity house and couldn’t tell if he was breathing, police said.
A coroner said hospital tests found a “highly elevated” blood-alcohol level in Gruver’s body.
Ten people are now charged with misdemeanor hazing, including 20-year-old Patrick Forde of Westwood, Massachusetts.
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said all 10 are expected to be jailed Wednesday once they turn themselves in to campus police. One of the 10 suspects — Matthew Alexander Naquin, 19, of Boerne, Texas — also faces a negligent homicide charge.
Forde is not enrolled at LSU this semester, but he had been in the past, Ballard told WBZ-TV, adding that Forde is also not a graduate of LSU.
Witnesses told police that the fraternity’s pledges were forced to drink to excess on the night before Gruver’s death, during a game or initiation ritual called “Bible Study” that required pledges to drink if they incorrectly answered questions about the fraternity.
A witness told police that Gruver was “highly intoxicated” when fraternity members laid him on a couch and left the house sometime early on Sept. 14. Around 11 a.m., members found Gruver still on the couch with a weak pulse, police said. Two people drove him to a hospital, where he died later that day.
The fraternity’s national office said it closed the chapter after Gruver’s death.
Several pledges told police they received a group text message stating there would be ‘Bible Study’ at the house” at 10 p.m. on Sept. 13. Investigators seized a cellphone belonging to the fraternity member who sent the group text message about the “Bible Study” session.
Police executed search warrants at the fraternity house and at Gruver’s dorm room. Among the items seized from the fraternity house were a duffel bag filled with beer cans, bottles of liquor, a glass smoking pipe, a “pledge test,” cleaning supplies and two strands of white knotted rope, according to a search warrant return.
Police also found devices that may have captured video footage inside the fraternity house “during the times of the events,” a police affidavit says.
“Investigators also learned that there were several text messages sent about (Gruver’s) condition,” the affidavit said.
Police also obtained a warrant to examine Gruver’s phone so they could see who he called or texted before his death.
A Penn State fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, and 14 of its members face criminal charges over the death of a pledge who was fatally injured after an alcohol-related hazing ritual in February. Sophomore Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey, became highly intoxicated and later fell several times, including down a long set of basement steps, suffering severe head and abdominal injuries that led to his death two days later.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)