Prosecution's witness testifies he believed Joe McKnight was 'aggressor'

Prosecution's witness testifies he believed Joe McKnight was 'aggressor'

GRETNA, LA (WVUE) - Monday, a witness to the Joe McKnight/Ronald Gasser road rage incident told the courtroom he believed McKnight (driving a gray SUV) was the aggressor before the former football standout was shot and killed in Terrytown in 2016.

The witness testified he was driving on Berhman Highway near the Wal-Mart on Dec. 1 when he saw the vehicles of McKnight and Gasser in his rear view mirror.

The witness said he was traveling in the right lane and the gray vehicle, driven by McKnight, was directly behind him and the blue vehicle, driven by Gasser, was behind him in the left lane.

The witness said both cars were speeding and the blue car drove passed him on the left toward the intersection of Holmes Boulevard.

The witness testified the blue car then got in front of him in the right lane and the gray vehicle moved to the left lane and passed him. The witness said the gray vehicle got in the right lane in front of him then pulled onto the median next to the blue car at the intersection of Berhman and Holmes.

The witness said he heard both drivers shouting at one another and that he heard the driver of the gray vehicle, McKnight, use vulgar language toward the other driver. The witness could not make out what the driver of the blue car, Gasser, was shouting at McKnight.

The witness said no vehicles were in front of Gasser but the traffic light was red.

The witness drove around the intersection where McKnight and Gasser before the shooting occurred.

More than six witnesses called by the prosecution testified Monday. All of them said they did not see the shooting take place.

Gasser's attorney, Matt Goetz, argues his client only acted in self-defense when McKnight lunged into Gasser's vehicle.

The Jefferson Parish District Attorney's office said McKnight never entered Gasser's vehicle before he was shot three times.

Monday's witnesses included a Navy veteran who said he ran over after McKnight was shot and saw Gasser get out of his car with a gun in his hand.
 
That witness told the jury Gasser pointed the gun at him but eventually put the gun down and walked away.

Other witnesses told the jury they saw McKnight fall to the ground after being shot, and they said McKnight was standing up next to Gasser's passenger side window at the time.

Those witnesses said Gasser was inside of his vehicle but got out of his car after the shooting. They said he eventually put the gun on the trunk of his vehicle.

A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office investigator said a reenactment of the scene was conducted four days after the shooting using both McKnight and Gasser's vehicles. The investigator said he was used as the stand-in for McKnight because he and McKnight are similar height and weight.

The investigator said he was forced to bend down to look into Gasser's vehicle. The investigator said as a part of the reenactment he attempted to physically push down a halfway rolled down passenger side window of Gasser's vehicle but was unsuccessful.

Gasser's passenger window was completely rolled down during the shooting.

Monday, the jury also watched a two and half hour interview investigators conducted with Gasser without a lawyer the day after the shooting.

During that interview, Gasser told investigators "his hands and his head were in the window. That's when I feared for my life. I was frightened."

On Saturday, jurors watched an eight and a half hour interview conducted by Jefferson Parish investigators with Gasser who did not have an attorney present.

Gasser is facing a second degree murder charge.

If convicted, Gasser could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Testimony will resume Tuesday morning.

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