LSU student from Cypress charged in hazing death

A 19 year old student at LSU who graduated from Cypresswood High School turned himself in on Wednesday and has been charged in the hazing death of another LSU student.

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana - All 10 LSU fraternity members now charged with hazing in the death of Maxwell Gruver have turned themselves in, including 19-year-old Nicholas Taulli, who graduated from Cypress Woods High School.

His Facebook profile shows him in purple -- a Texan who's now a proud LSU Tiger -- but on Wednesday, a different photo was taken of the 19-year-old. 

It showed Taulli turning himself in to police, answering to a warrant that was issued Tuesday for his arrest. Court documents say Taulli was an active participant in a hazing event that led to the death of Gruver, 18.

Police say Gruver was forced to down an excessive amount of alcohol back in September during a drinking ritual called "Bible Study," where Phi Delta Theta pledges had to drink if they incorrectly answered questions about the fraternity.

According to police interviews with multiple active fraternity members and pledges at the frat house that night, the pledges were forced to drink from a bottle of 190 proof Diesel every time they gave a wrong answer.

A witness told police Gruver was "highly intoxicated" the night of the game, and members laid him down on the couch. He was found the next morning with a weak pulse, and later died at the hospital.

An autopsy would later show that Gruver died of alcohol induced asphyxiation with a BAC of .495, WWL reports.

According to court documents, several witnesses said Gruver was targeted specifically by one of the fraternity members. 

On Wednesday, Taulli's father said his son had nothing to do with what happened that night, but couldn't elaborate more due to his lawyer's advisement.

Taulli’s attorney, Aidan Reynolds, says the LSU sophomore was never involved in the hazing incident. He says Taulli was at the house, but only for a few minutes at a time, and then he went home for the night.

Reynolds says at no point was Taulli ever upstairs and never took part in the "Bible Study." He says there are witnesses to prove that.

Reynolds says Taulli was only there to pick up his brother who was actually a pledge to the fraternity.

Taulli told his lawyer that at no time did Gruver appear to be in trouble or in bad shape while he was there. Reynolds says police have done a terrible thing in charging his client.

“He was never seen, okay? So how can you charge a young man and potentially ruin his academic and personal life if he’s not even there? So I'm very frustrated with LSU Police at this point," Reynolds said.

Reynolds says he also doesn’t understand why a warrant was issued for his client for a misdemeanor charge. He says normally, police should just write a citation.

He says his next step is to talk to the DA about the charge against Taulli, which he expects to be dropped.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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