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Third day of Gasser trial focuses on witness testimony

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Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office
GRETNA, LA (WVUE) -

The trial for a man accused of murdering a former NFL player will enter its third day after jurors watched over 8 hours of interview tapes Sunday. 

Investigators say in December 2016 Ronald Gasser admitted to police that he shot and killed Joe McKnight.

Monday morning the prosecution continued to present its case by calling witnesses who were at the scene of the shooting. 

Deputies said the killing happened after a road rage incident on the Crescent City Connection that eventually made its way to the corner of Behrman Highway and Holmes Boulevard in Terrytown.

That is where Gasser shot McKnight three times. 

That is also where Gasser was involved in another road rage incident 10 years prior. That incident ended with a fist fight. 

Gasser claimed that McKnight lunged at him through his passenger door, but one detective testified that evidence on the scene indicated McKnight only had his hands on the car door. 

The prosecution also called two witnesses who were nearby when McKnight was killed. 

Veteran Wendall Sam said he was on his way to work when he heard three gunshots. 

Sam testified that he saw Gasser exit his vehicle keeping his gun up and pointing it at him when he approached to help. 

Sam said he tried to perform CPR and save McKnight, who was still alive, but was unsuccessful.

Tiffany Benjamin testified that she was on her way to pick up her kids from school when the shooting happened. Benjamin was in the car right behind Gasser's. 

She testified that she did not see the actual incident occur because she was looking down while at the light playing with her smart watch. 

The jury is still hearing testimony from witnesses, and will face the question of whether or not Gasser acted in self-defense, or committed murder.

Gasser's attorney said his client is a Marine Veteran who only acted in self-defense, and that Joe McKnight attacked Gasser in his car.

Prosecutors say the incident was a heated argument between two drivers that should not have ended in murder, and that there was no gunpowder residue on McKnight, indicating he was not shot at the close range Gasser had claimed. 

Saturday jurors finished watching more than 8 hours of video of the sheriff's office interview with Gasser.

The trial is expected to last two weeks, and if convicted of second degree murder, Gasser would face a mandatory life sentence.

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