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Philadelphia Man Facing Manslaughter Charges for Stabbing Drunken White Man Found Not Guilty

More than a year after he fatally stabbed a drunken man in what he claimed was an act of self-defense, a Philadelphia bike courier has been found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

The verdict for Michael White, 22, was handed down following three days of testimony, including from White. The college student was 21 years old and en route to making a food delivery when the July 12, 2018 stabbing occurred.

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Sean Schellenger (left) and Michael White (right). (Photos: Fox 29/screenshots)

At the time, witnesses said real estate developer Sean Schellenger, 37, was drinking at a local bar before he and White got into a fight. What led to the argument wasn’t apparent then but in the end, White pulled out a knife that he carried as protection while making nighttime deliveries and stabbed Schellenger. From then on, he maintained he was acting in self-defense and that continued through the trial, which saw White give testimony this week.

White had been on his red bike delivering an order from Popeye’s Chicken through Uber Eats, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Schellenger was with pals at a restaurant nearby when they left to drive to a different bar in the area.

In his testimony Tuesday, White said he stopped his bike at the corner after a black Mercedes-Benz blocked his path. The car was driven by Norris Jordan who is Schellenger’s friend; the car was stuck behind another vehicle on the street.

White’s testimony alleged Jordan uttered a racial slur at the other motorist, which Jordan denied. White testified that he then saw Schellenger get out of the Mercedes to face the other driver. White recalled telling Schellenger he didn’t need to be a “tough guy.” That’s when he claims the real estate developer walked toward him and directed a racial slur at him, prompting White to pull out a knife in an effort to frighten Schellenger away.

Schellenger allegedly charged at White and wrapped his arms around him and that’s when the 22-year-old plunged a 6-inch knife into Schellenger’s back before removing the weapon after the men fell to the ground. White fled the scene and tossed his knife on the roof of a West Philadelphia home. But he turned himself in the following day. Meanwhile, Schellenger was pronounced dead on the scene. It was later found in medical records that he had a blood alcohol level twice the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent as well as traces of cocaine in his system when the scuffle ensued.

“We’re just glad justice was served,” defense attorney Keir Bradford-Gray said according to Fox 29. White’s mother, Junita White, told the press “the only thing I can say is what a mighty God we serve and thank you Jesus.”

Still, White was found guilty of tampering with evidence, a lesser charge, because he threw the weapon onto a rooftop.

Meanwhile, Schellenger’s family was outraged by the verdict.

“This ain’t justice! This city isn’t safer. It’s more dangerous because of him,” the victim’s father Mark Schellenger said.

Slamming District Attorney Larry Krasner, who lowered the initial first-degree murder charge against White in the third-degree, and then to voluntary manslaughter, Sean Schellenger’s mother, Linda Schellenger, was incensed.

“Wouldn’t that be nice to have a fair trial? One for Michael White and one for Sean Schellenger? But we didn’t. Larry, obstruction of justice is a federal crime,” Linda Schellenger said.

Krasner’s spokesperson declined to comment on Linda Schellenger’s remarks, but in a statement following the verdict, the D.A. said in part, “we followed the facts and the law in seeking justice. And we respect the verdict of the jury in this factually and legally complex case.”

Yet, despite the verdict, things won’t be easy for White, according to Pastor Greg Thompson of Philadelphia Peaceful Surrender.

“He understands that someone has lost their life and that’s a very difficult thing to live with,” Thompson told the news outlet. “No matter what the verdict and he’s got to live with that for the rest of his life.”

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