JPSO: Gasser testimony in conflict with evidence

JPSO: Gasser testimony in conflict with evidence
Ronald Gasser will remain in jail for 30 years.

(WVUE) - Prosecutors continued making their case Wednesday in the murder trial of Ronald Gasser who is accused of gunning down former NFL player Joe McKnight in a road rage incident in 2016.

Gasser claims self-defense, but on Wednesday witnesses for the prosecution explained how the evidence tells a different story.

On the fifth day of testimony, jurors watched investigators interview Gasser for the a third time - the day he was arrested for manslaughter.

During the three-hour interview, JPSO's homicide commander Lt. Don Meunier asked many of the same questions Gasser had answered before, but this time, investigators had more evidence - evidence they say contradicted Gasser's account.

Gasser asserted from the beginning that McKnight lunged toward him before he fired three shots.

Meunier testified the trajectory of the bullet was consistent with someone leaning into a car, like Gasser claims, but not someone lunging through the window because there was no stippling, or gunpowder, on McKnight.

In the interview, he asked Gasser whether it was possible that the threat was farther than he thought - that maybe McKnight was moving out of the vehicle when Gasser opened fire.

Gasser responded: "When I drew the weapon, he may have had a reaction to that. I don't know." He went on to say, "I do know when I fired the shot, of course his reaction was to back out."

Meunier explained that because Gasser's story conflicted with the evidence, a judge had signed a warrant for his arrest and he would be booked on manslaughter charges, not just because of stippling, but also due to witness accounts, video and the trajectory of the bullet.

The commander also told Gasser that McKnight had a gun but never used it. Gasser said McKnight didn't get his gun because McKnight was the aggressor and he was on the defense.

Lt. Meunier questioned Gasser as to why he never took steps to deescalate the situation - like roll up his window or call 911 - but did think to get his gun. Gasser told him he thought the situation would deescalate itself and said, "I didn't call 911 because I don't think I've ever called 911."

A firearm and tool mark expert also took the witness stand Wednesday. She testified the bullet found in Gasser's car came from the same gun recovered from McKnight's body. She also told jurors the casings found in Gasser's care were consistent with someone firing from the driver's side.

The trial continues Thursday at 8:45 a.m.

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