Gasser, 56, was convicted of manslaughter in January after a jury found him guilty of shooting McKnight three times with a.40-caliber semi-automatic handgun on December 1, 2016 in the Terrytown suburb of New Orleans. But they argued that Gasser escalated the conflict, following him down an exit that he would not ordinarily have taken moments before the shooting. Ronald Gasser is charged with manslaughter after killing McKnight in a road rage shooting style death.
"This tragedy did not need to happen", Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach said.
McKnight's mother, Jennifer McKnight, and the mother of his son, Michelle Quick, both delivered emotional victim impact statements ahead of the sentencing, WWLTV reported.
Gasser faced up to 40 years in prison but lawyers argued on his behalf that the 56-year-old Gasser fired a gun in self-defense when McKnight walked up to his auto at the end of a five-mile vehicular confrontation near Jefferson Parrish that began on a bridge over the Mississippi River in New Orleans.
She cried throughout her testimony and was escorted from the courtroom sobbing.
Gasser was convicted January 26.
Witnesses at the trial said McKnight was weaving in and out of traffic ahead of the shooting.
Shute also acknowledged McKnight had placed his hand on the open, passenger side window of Gasser's vehicle but noted physical evidence proved the shooter lied to police when he said the athlete lunged at him. "Not because you don't deserve it, but because he should not have hate in his heart".
Gasser never left the scene after the shooting, and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office investigators were able to recover the gun used.