Joe McKnight killer found guilty by jury

Jan 28, 2018, 00:13
Joe McKnight killer found guilty by jury

Gasser killed McKnight at at Terrytown intersection on December 1, 2016, after a 5-mile chase, spurred by road rage, that began on the Crescent City Connection.

Prosecutors later recounted a painstaking effort to hold Gasser responsible, including an extensive search for witnesses and physical evidence that eventually led to the second-degree murder charge. The jury instead convicted him of manslaughter, essentially a crime of passion. However, the prosecutors quickly shot down the allegations by proving that they didn't find any gun powder on Mcknight which would be visible if the victim was in close contact with the shooter.

"We do not dispute that he was driving like a jerk", Assistant District Attorney Seth Shute told jurors in closing arguments, alluding to witness testimony that McKnight weaved in and out of traffic, cutting Gasser and others off, at high speed.

Prosecutors told jurors Friday that the evidence shows Gasser angrily pursued McKnight and shot him from inside his own auto. Gasser's lawyer argued that his client was justified in defending himself with lethal force under Louisiana's so-called "stand-your-ground" law.

Gasser shot McKnight after what prosecutors said was a road rage incident that included aggressive driving along a 5 mile (8 kilometer) route.

McKnight, a star football player at John Curtis who later played running back in the pros, died after Gasser shot him in Terrytown in 2016.

Manslaughter carries a maximum prison sentence of 40 years.

However, the prosecution argued that by perceiving National Football League player's driving as a challenge, Gasser escalated the incident by trying to cut him off the road. Defense attorney Goetz said he planned to file for an appeal, reports said.

Prosecutors told jurors Friday that the evidence shows Gasser angrily pursued McKnight and shot him from inside his own vehicle. McKnight was reportedly standing by the window on the passenger's side.

Gasser's release sparked protests at the time, and some said race played a role in his release - Gasser is white and McKnight was black.

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