Ronald Gasser was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday by Jefferson Parish Judge Ellen Kovach for shooting and killing former NFL player Joe McKnight in Dec. 2016. Prosecutors brought second-degree murder charges against Gasser, though he was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury in January. “Let this be a cautionary tale to all driver who rage behind the wheel of their car at other drivers,” Judge Kovach said, adding that nobody would have died if either McKnight or Gasser “had the good sense, the courage and the wisdom to simply disengage.”
McKnight’s mother gave an emotional impact statement, sobbing as she told Gasser, “You took my child from me. My child. Everybody says Joe McKnight, the football player. But he’s Joe McKnight, my son ... 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 and McKnight got into an argument on Dec. 1, 2016 while driving alongside one another. After the two men pulled over, Gasser shot McKnight from the driver’s seat of his car. Despite confessing to killing McKnight and being found guilty of road rage charges in 2006 at the very same intersection, Gasser was initially set free by police as they conducted their investigation.
Correction (2:12 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this story included a detail about Gasser standing over McKnight after shooting him. That anecdote was discredited during the trial.