Ronald Gasser sentenced to 30 years for killing Joe McKnight

GRETNA - Ronald Gasser will spend the next 30 years behind bars for shooting former NFL star Joe McKnight.

Gasser faced up to 40 years in prison after his conviction of manslaughter in January of this year.

He was arrested on a manslaughter charge Dec. 5, 2016, a few days after shooting, and charged with killing McKnight at a busy intersection in Terrytown following a road rage incident.

He was later indicted on a second-degree murder charge.

During the trial, prosecutors painted Gasser as the aggressor in the deadly encounter.

Today, Judge Ellen Kovach said the fatal road rage incident should serve as a cautionary tale.

If Gasser and McKnight had disengaged, or if Gasser hadn’t decided to use his firearm, both could have walked away.

“This tragedy did not need to happen,” Kovach said.

The mother of Joe McKnight's son, Michelle Quick, yelled out that's "less than he deserves." And she cursed as she was escorted out of the courtroom. Quick and other family and friends read emotional, tear-filled impact statements before the sentencing.

Joe Mcknight's mother, Jennifer McKnight spoke last. She stood in front of the courtroom and immediately started crying. She did not read from a paper. She looked right at Gasser, almost the entire time. She said when she found out she prayed "Lord not my child."

She also told Gasser: "You took that part of me. You put pain on me I am not able to endure. I have to forgive you to have some sort of peace to live my life."

Quick also took the stand. She says McKnight and her 7-year-old son Jayden -- called his Dad's phone after learning of his death. He left a voicemail. He asked his mom if dad could hear it from heaven. He asked if he could watch his dad's highlights on YouTube. When he went to watch a video, a clip of his dad's body on the ground came up. She did ask the judge for the maximum sentence of 40 years.

Gasser gave no response. He sat in an orange jumpsuit, frequently looking down at his hands.

Outside of the courtroom Jennifer McKnight told the press "He feels no remorse."