Louisiana police have announced arrest warrants for 10 people accused of a role in forcing a university student to drink himself to death last month.
All of the suspects are affiliated with the social club that police say 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver was attempting to join when he died.
One Louisiana State University student is charged with negligent homicide and nine others are charged with hazing.
Police believe Gruver died after a fraternity ritual called “Bible study”.
According to a police affidavit, on the night of 13 September Gruver had been forced to drink during a Phi Delta Theta initiation each time he incorrectly answered questions about the university’s all-male club.
Gruver died of “acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration”, according to a post-mortem examination by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner.
The Georgia-native had a blood alcohol level that was over six times the legal limit for driving.
“Today’s arrests underscore that the ramifications of hazing can be devastating,” said university president F King Alexander on Wednesday.
“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 decision,” he continued.
One suspect, Matthew Naquin, is charged with negligent homicide, which could carry a five-year prison sentence.
The others face charges of hazing, which carry a 10-30 day jail sentence:
- Matthew Alexander Naquin, 19, of Texas
- Elliott Eaton, 20, of Louisiana
- Patrick Forde, 20, Massachusetts
- Sean Paul Gott, 21, of Louisiana
- Zachary Hall, 21, of North Carolina
- Hudson Kirkpatrick, 19, of Louisiana
- Sean Pennison, 21, of Louisiana
- Nicholas Taulli, 19, of Texas
- Ryan Isto, 18, of Canada
- Zachary Castillo
All 10 suspects are affiliated with the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, but two are not currently enrolled at the school.
The charges now go to a grand jury, which will determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a criminal trial.
In September, a judge in Pennsylvania dismissed all the serious charges that had been filed against Pennsylvania State University fraternity members after a student there died during an initiation event.