A state judge has ruled Ronald Gasser’s arrest in a similar road rage incident can be admitted in his trial in the shooting death of former-NFL player Joe McKnight. Legal analyst Tim Meche says like most states, Louisiana allows prior incidents of a similar nature into evidence if it is relevant. But he says in this case, it’s a stretch for the prosecutor.
“I’d be very careful and cautious about using it because it’s so remote in time and it’s not exactly a similar enough incident,” Meche said.
The incident occurred 10 years ago at the same intersection in Terrytown where Gasser allegedly gunned down McKnight. Meche says the ruling to allow this as evidence is wide open for reversal on appeal. But he says if the incident is brought up in the courtroom, the defense could even use it to their advantage.
“The defense can argue, ‘My goodness ladies and gentlemen, look what they’re doing to this guy. They’re bringing up an incident that happened 10 years ago, and they’re doing that because they have a weak case,’” Meche said.
In the decade-old case, Gasser was charged with a misdemeanor and never prosecuted. Meche says the prosecutor should think twice about using the prior incident as evidence. He says it’s possible with Gasser’s testimony, it could backfire.
“Probably the defendant will testify, and he’ll be able to explain that away. It’s not as powerful as one might think,” Meche said.
A trial date has not been set.