The man accused of killing former-NFL player Joe McKnight has been indicted for second-degree murder. 54-year-old Ronald Gasser was originally arrested for manslaughter on December 5, four days after the apparent road rage incident in Terrytown. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand says the upgraded charge comes after the grand jury looked at all of the evidence.
“They had an opportunity to review in excess of 160 interviews that we had conducted, as well as video tape from businesses and many, many other witnesses,” Normand said.
Legal analyst Tim Meche says it’s not surprising the grand jury upgraded the charge, but it’s bad news for the defendant. He says while manslaughter carries a sentence up to 40 years, if convicted of second degree murder, Gasser will serve life.
“Murder carries a life sentence, and in Louisiana life means life. It means you don’t leave Angola except in a coffin,” Meche said.
Meche says from here Gasser will be given an arraignment date where he will enter a plea, and then they’ll set a motion date and a trial date. He says once Gasser goes before the grand jury, the verdict will come down to one key point.
“It’s going to be whether or not the defendant can take the witness stand and effectively articulate that he reasonably feared for his life and had to shoot the victim,” Meche said.