Two former Louisiana State University students will spend a month in jail for their role in the 2017 hazing death of an 18-year-old fraternity pledge from Roswell.
Sean-Paul Gott, 22, of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Ryan Matthew Isto, 20, of Butte, Montana, were taken into custody after their sentencing hearing Friday, according to The Advocate.
Ten students were charged in the death of Max Gruver, who died of alcohol poisoning during a Phi Delta Theta hazing ritual about a month after starting college at LSU.
Gott and Isto pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hazing charges Friday. But the judge in the case said their 30-day sentences — the maximum allowed under Louisiana law at the time of Gruver’s death — were “not enough,” the Baton Rouge newspaper reported.
“You put the plan in motion that ultimately caused Mr. Gruver’s death,” District Judge Beau Higginbotham reportedly told them. “You are directly responsible for his death.”
Isto was the former roommate of 21-year-old Matthew Naquin, who was recently convicted of negligent homicide in the case. The Texas man faces up to five years in prison, The Advocate reported.
At the time of his death, Gruver’s blood alcohol level was 0.495% — more than six times the legal limit for drivers, the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office said previously.
A 2017 graduate of Blessed Trinity High School, Gruver planned to study journalism at LSU. He loved sports and helped coach younger children, including his sister’s basketball team, his family said.
“Max was very lovable. He cared a lot about people,” Eugene Gruver, his grandfather, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the day after his death. “He was bright, he was intelligent. He was so talented. He knew all about sports.”
The teen’s on-campus death led to the temporary suspension of all Greek life activities at LSU and the removal of Phi Delta Theta’s Louisiana State chapter until at least 2033.
It also led to nationwide calls for tougher restrictions against hazing on college campuses.
One Louisiana bill signed into state law in the wake of Gruver’s death made participating in hazing activities that lead to an alcohol-related death punishable by five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
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