New York Jets running back Joe McKnight is seen during an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in Nov. 18, 2012
A man convicted in the road-rage shooting death of former USC football player Joe McKnight was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison.
56-year-old Ronald Gasser driver convicted of manslaughter in the road rage incident by a Jefferson Parish jury in December 2017 for fatally shooting former NFL running back McKnight, 28, in Dc 2016. – McKnight played for two NFL teams, including three years with the New York Jets.
Gasser initially was charged with second-degree murder, which carries a life sentence, but he was convicted of the lesser charge last year.
Judge Ellen Shrier Kovach called the killing senseless, noting both men could have de-escalated the situation had they chosen to do so, according to the New Orleans Advocate.
“This tragedy did not need to happen,” she said.
Police said the fatal encounter followed a 5-mile rolling confrontation that began with dangerously aggressive driving on a New Orleans bridge and ended with McKnight being shot as he stood outside Gasser’s car at a suburban intersection. Gasser never left the shooting scene and was initially freed after more than eight hours of questioning.
Ronald Gasser [right] did not leave the scene after the shooting. In fact he argued, the was being held on a trumped-up charge of manslaughter in the shooting death of Joe McKnight. He and his attorney’s demanded his immediate release.
Gasser’s lawyer just filed a motion claiming there’s no probable cause for his client’s arrest. He’s asking the court for the earliest available hearing … so he can show a judge why Gasser should get out of jail. At the conclusion of the case however he has been sentenced to serve three decades in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter.
McKnight was considered the No. 1 running back recruit in the country when he came out of John Curtis Christian School in Louisiana in 2006. He signed with the University of Southern California, where he ran for 2,213 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 66 passes for 542 yards and two scores in three seasons.
In the NFL, he also played one season with the Kansas City Chiefs. He spent a season in the Canadian Football League, playing two games for the Edmonton Eskimos and three for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Times have changed in LA: Ronald Gasser [left], believed he did no wrong after shooting McKnight [right, behind tarp], in Dec 2016, as he calmly sat beside his car waiting for officers
Gasser’ defense lawyers argued he fired in self-defense when McKnight approached his car following the chase, which spanned the Mississippi River in New Orleans and later ended with gun violence in nearby Jefferson Parish.