The deadly confrontation between Gasser and McKnight, 28, occurred at a traffic intersection in the New Orleans suburb of Terrytown, where the two men stopped their vehicles after shouting vulgarities at each other and driving erratically for about 5 miles.
Fifty-six-year-old Ronald Gasser had been charged with second-degree murder, which carries a life sentence. The jury instead convicted him of manslaughter, essentially a crime of passion. "Gasser said, 'I'm not going to let it go.' If either of them had let it go, we wouldn't be here today". "Mr. Gasser thought that Mr. McKnight had thrown the gauntlet down", Shute told jurors, later adding: "He followed him off the exit".
Shute acknowledged that McKnight had a hand on the open passenger side window of Gasser's auto before he was shot. Gasser's lawyer argued that his client was justified in defending himself with lethal force under Louisiana's so-called "stand-your-ground" law.
"They were both all over the place", motorist Jerrod Jones said, when prosecutors asked about the positions of Gasser and McKnight's vehicles on the road, per Bacon-Blood.
McKnight played in the National Football League as a running back for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs from 2010 through 2014. Gasser faces up to 40 years in prison when he's sentenced in March.
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Prosecutors told jurors Friday that the evidence shows Gasser angrily pursued McKnight and shot him from inside his own auto. Gasser's defense team claimed McKnight aggressively pursued Gasser, but witness testimony disputed such a claim.
But Shute said Gasser escalated the danger, taking McKnight's driving as a challenge.
He was shot December 1, 2016.
The case triggered protests after police initially released Gasser - who didn't flee from the shooting scene - after more than eight hours of questioning, and led some to question whether race had played a role in his release.