Ex-NFL Player Joe McKnight’s Killer Convicted of Manslaughter

By Malcolm Speaks

Joe McKnight, who began, his NFL career with the New York Jets, was shot dead by a motorist in 2016. His killer was convicted on Friday.

Joe McKnight, who began, his NFL career with the New York Jets, was shot dead by a motorist in 2016. His killer was convicted on Friday.

A White Louisiana man was found guilty of manslaughter for shooting and killing Black former NFL player Joe McKnight this past Friday.

Authorities reported that Ronald Gasser, 56, shot McKnight during a 2016 road-rage incident in a New Orleans suburb. Gasser was indicted on a second-degree murder charge, however the jury returned the lesser verdict of manslaughter Friday night after deliberating for approximately eight hours, according to WGNO. The jury consisted of one Black woman, one Hispanic woman, six White women and four White men, according to nola.com.

Gasser was charged with second-degree murder with the possibility of a life sentence if he was convicted of this crime, however the jury decided to convict him of the lesser offense. Therefore, he now faces anywhere from 0 to 40 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Seth Shute told jurors the physical evidence proved that Gasser lied during police questioning when he claimed that McKnight lunged at him. He cited the lack of gun powder on McKnight’s body as evidence that McKnight wasn’t close to Gasser. “Joe McKnight was not lunging,” he added, citing autopsy results. “There would be a hole in his deltoid muscle if he was.”

The incident took place on a bridge that crosses the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Terrytown. McKnight reportedly cut off Gasser, who responded by chasing him. They stopped at the Terrytown intersection, where witnesses said the two men were “in a heated verbal exchange” from their vehicles until McKnight exited his vehicle and walked over to the passenger’s window of Gasser’s car. At this point Gasser shot him three times, in the right shoulder, the right chest and the hand. Gasser also turned over a .40-caliber pistol to police and admitted shooting McKnight, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.  However, authorities did not indict Gasser until a number of weeks after he shot and killed the former NFL star.

Sentencing is scheduled to take place on March 15.

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