NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Accused Joe McKnight killer Ronald Gasser was arrested on December 5 in connection to shooting the former John Curtis standout and NFL running back.
Gasser faces a charge of manslaughter, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office records.
Louisiana’s “stand your ground” self-defense law is almost certain to play a role in this case, just as it promises to in the similar road rage shooting of former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith.
Smith’s shooter Cardell Hayes is on trial for second-degree murder for shooting Smith and attempted second degree murder for shooting Smith’s wife.
Both Gasser and Hayes stayed on the scene of their respective crimes and surrendered to authorities right away.
WGNO legal analyst Craig Mordock said that’s where the similarities stop.
Hayes was immediately arrested and has remained in jail awaiting trial, while Gasser was released the night of McKnight’s shooting, only to be arrested several days later.
“The outlier is not Cardell Hayes being arrested,” Mordock said. “The outlier is Gasser not being arrested. Gasser went free. That was out of the ordinary.”
The differences in the cases extend to the charges filed.
Manslaughter is broadly defined as “the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or otherwise in circumstances not amounting to murder.”
Second degree murder, however, is generally defined as “an intentional killing that is not premeditated or planned, nor committed in a reasonable ‘heat of passion,’ or a killing caused by dangerous conduct and the offender’s obvious lack of concern for human life.”
Why Gasser would qualify for a seemingly lesser charge than Hayes remains to be seen.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. to discuss developments in the Gasser case.