Opening statements start Tuesday for Max Gruver case, Naquin faces six-person jury

Local News

The beginning of what prosecutors say will be an emotional case starts in the hazing death of LSU fraternity pledge Max Gruver.

Opening statements from the prosecution and defense will be given this morning, and then the state will begin calling witnesses.

A six-person jury was selected Monday afternoon after a day long questioning process.

The 21-year-old faces charges of negligent homicide and obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors claim Naquin deleted nearly 700 text messages and photos, less than an hour after learning investigators wanted to search on his phone.

If convicted, Naquin faces up to five years in prison on the negligent homicide charge alone.

What promises to be an emotional trial began Tuesday morning in the hazing related death of LSU student and pledge Maxwell Gruver. 

State attorney Morgan Johnson became emotional during her opening statement, going in chronological order of the events leading to Gruver’s death. 

Johnson said active members of the fraternity say Matthew Naquin’s behavior towards pledges, like Gruver, was unacceptable and they even thought about kicking him out [of the fraternity.]

Johnson said unfortunately they didn’t kick Naquin out of the fraternity soon enough, implying if Naquin was not, there Gruver would still be alive. 

Witnesses for the prosecution said Naquin did not like Gruver and vocalized that he did not want Gruver apart of the fraternity.

For the first time we’re getting a sense of what Naquin’s defense will be.

His attorney John Mclindon argued that though Gruver is dead, it’s no one’s fault. In addition, he said just because witnesses say Naquin was the loudest, doesn’t mean he is responsible for Gruver’s death.

He went on to say Gruver was not forced to drink alcohol and said he has a history of drinking and smoking marijuana, saying that he drank practically every day.

He noted that Naquin should not be blamed, but instead the fraternity for lack of supervision to the men in the fraternity.

A jury was chosen Monday and is made up of five men and three women, two being alternate jurors. They are set to hear more witness statements during the week.

Prosecutors told jurors they may hear testimonies for up to 10 days.

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