Phi Delt Four

(Left to right) Matthew Naquin, Ryan Isto, Sean-Paul Gott, Patrick Forde were indicted by a grand jury in March 2018

Former LSU students and ex-Phi Delta Theta members Sean-Paul Gott, 22, and Ryan Matthew Isto, 20, were both sentenced Friday to 30 days in jail for misdemeanor hazing.

Both Gott and Isto pleaded no contest last year to misdemeanor hazing in the 2017 alcohol-related death of freshman pledge Maxwell Gruver. Isto was the former LSU roommate of Matthew Naquin, who was convicted last week of negligent homicide in Gruver's death. Naquin will be sentenced Oct. 16 and faces up to five years in prison.

Gott and Isto both testified for the prosecution at Naquin's trial. According to The Advocate, Isto testified he saw Naquin hand Gruver a bottle of alcohol at the ill-fated hazing event and order him to drink. Isto said he saw Gott do the same to pledges acknowledged telling pledges to drink, but said he didn't order Gruver to drink.

Another former LSU student charged with hazing, Patrick Andrew Forde, 22, also testified as a prosecution witness at Naquin's trial. Prosecutors haven't decided whether to prosecute him.

Gruver and other pledges were told to chug 190-proof liquor the night of Sept. 13, 2017, if they gave wrong answers to questions about the fraternity or could not recite the Greek alphabet. Gruver died the following morning. His blood-alcohol level was 0.495%, which is more than six times the legal limit to drive in Louisiana. 

The misdemeanor hazing charge to which Isto and Gott pleaded no contest carried up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $100 under the law in place at the time of the Gruver hazing. Last year, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law the Max Gruver Act and other anti-hazing bills meant to reduce hazing and hike penalties in future cases.

Hazing that results in death is now considered a felony in Louisiana. Individuals who take part in hazing activities that result in death when the victim’s blood alcohol level is at least .30 would face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

The act also strengthens penalties for misdemeanor hazing charges. Hazing events that do not lead to death are subject to fines of up to $1,000 and six months in prison. Before this law, hazing called for a maximum fine of $100 and up to 30 days behind bars.

The act expanded the list of educational groups subjected to anti-hazing laws to include fraternities, sororities, associations, clubs, service groups, spirit groups and other groups that have members who are college students. Those groups that knowingly allow hazing could face fines of up to $10,000.

Phi Delta Theta has been banned from the LSU campus until at least 2033 as a result of the investigation into the events leading to Gruver's death.

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