Ronald Gasser, who shot and killed Joe McKnight, has been sentenced to 30-years in prison.
Ronald Gasser has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the shooting death of former NFL running back Joe McKnight.
Judge Ellen Shirer-Kovach of the 24th Judicial District gave forth the sentence Thursday morning.
“To you it might have seemed like an insignificant life to take, but it wasn’t,” stated Jennifer McKnight, Joe McKnight’s mother, during her victim impact statement.
“Ronald Gasser hear me when I say, it will be my life’s mission to make sure my son Jayden doesn’t grow up with hate for you,” said Michelle Quick, the mother of Joe McKnight’s son. “Not because you don’t deserve it, but because he should not have hate in his heart.”
Gasser, 56, was found guilty on the lesser charge of manslaughter on Jan. 26.
He was originally charged with second-degree murder, which carries a maximum life sentence. The jury ended up on a manslaughter conviction, which holds a sentence term of zero to 40 years.
Although she did not hand down the maximum sentence, Judge Kovach said she intended to send a message to the public. “Let this be a cautionary tale for all drivers who rage against their wheels.”
It was never a question whether Gasser killed McKnight on Dec. 1, 2016, on the tail of a 5-mile long, race-fueled chase that started on the Crescent City Connection and ended at the intersection of Behrman Highway and Holmes Boulevard in Terrytown.
The major issue of the trail was whether Gasser was justified in shooting McKnight.
Jennifer McKnight made her feelings clear on that stance as she left the courtroom. Addressing Gasser, she exclaimed. “You took my son from me. “That day, you didn’t have to do that. That didn’t have to happen. It hurts. It’s going to hurt a long time.”
Gasser’s lawyers claimed that McKnight “lunged” into their client’s Infiniti. On the other hand, the prosecution argued that while McKnight was angry and admitted he was also driving aggressively that day, he never attempted to enter Gasser’s vehicle. The physical evidence, they countered, disproved the claim that McKnight was trying to get into Gasser’s car.
Gasser did not leave the scene after shooting McKnight, and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators were able to recover his gun.