The man accused of shooting and killing former National Football League player Joe McKnight after the two engaged in a high-speed, road-rage chase was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury Friday night.
Police said the death had followed a 5-mile (8-kilometer) rolling confrontation that began with dangerously aggressive driving on a New Orleans bridge and ended with McKnight being shot as he stood outside Gasser's auto at a suburban intersection. "He (Gasser) felt Mr. McKnight challenged him on the bridge", prosecutor Seth Schute told the jury.
Gasser would have faced the possibility of a life sentence for a second-degree murder conviction, but instead he faces up to 40 years in prison because of the jury's decision to convict on the lesser offense.
McKnight played running back for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014.
Gasser was found guilty of manslaughter, not the initial charge of second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence. Jurors began deliberating Friday afternoon and came to a conclusion not long after.
The 56-year-old man had admitted to shooting McKnight on December 1, 2016 from the driver's seat of his auto and through the passenger's side window of McKnight's vehicle.
Authorities have said McKnight and Gasser drove erratically and yelled at each other in a traffic confrontation before the shooting.
Prosecutors told jurors Friday that the evidence shows Gasser angrily pursued McKnight and shot him from inside his own auto.
Gasser shot McKnight after what prosecutors said was a road rage incident that included aggressive driving along a five mile route. McKnight, police said, was not in possession of a gun.
McKnight had been considered one of the best running backs in the country while playing at the University of Southern California in 2007.
Prosecutors later recounted a painstaking effort including an extensive search for witnesses and physical evidence that eventually led to Gasser being charged.