The 28-year-old former Jets running back Joe McKnight was killed in a December 2016 road-rage confrontation, according to the New York Times. Ronald Gasser was found guilty of manslaughter on Friday, Jan. 26th. The 56-year-old was charged with second-degree murder, and will serve a life sentence because of the murder.
According to the New York Times, “Jurors began deliberations Friday afternoon. Defense attorneys had claimed that Gasser feared for his life when he fired from his driver’s seat at McKnight who was standing at his open passenger-side window.” According to police, the shooting followed a 5-mile, rolling confrontation that began with aggressive and dangerous driving on a New Orleans bridge and ended with the shooting of McKnight. Gasser stayed at the scene until police showed up and was questioned for more than eight hours before being let go.
New York Times says, “Gasser’s release ignited protests, and the authorities were accused of letting Gasser go because he is white and McKnight was black. Sheriff Newell Normand of Jefferson Parish, who has since retired, angrily denied that race had played any role in the case.” After looking at further evidence and finding more research, they charged Ronald Gasser with second-degree murder.
The night McKnight was shot and killed, he was driving recklessly and moving in and out of traffic, cutting off Gasser and many other people. Seth Shute, who is an assistant district attorney, helped to discover this part of the case. According to the New York Times, “Shute acknowledged that McKnight had a hand on the open passenger side window of Gasser’s car before he was shot. But he said physical evidence had proved that Gasser lied when he told the police that McKnight had lunged at him.” Shannon Swaim was also another assistant district attorney that summed up the case by telling jurors that Gasser was the aggressor as the incident started to close.
McKnight was the top running back recruit in the country when he went to John Curtis Christian School in Louisiana which was in 2006. After high school, he signed with the University of Southern California, where he had amazing stats. Such stats include: 2,213 yards, 13 touchdowns, catching 66 passes for 542 yards, and two scores in three seasons. After college he went on to play in the NFL in which he played three seasons for the Jets and one with the Kansas City Chiefs. Also, he spent a season in the Canadian football league, he played three games for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and two games with the Edmonton Eskimos, according to the New York Times.
In conclusion, Joe McKnight was an impressive football player that had a successful career before his death. In his college career, he had amazing stats that led him to his NFL career that was a once in a lifetime opportunity that he lost because of his death.