Murder charges dropped against Michael White, on trial for stabbing Sean Schellenger in Rittenhouse Square

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A man accused in a deadly stabbing near Rittenhouse Square will no longer face murder charges.

But, Michael White had two more charges added as his trial began on Monday.

White, 22, is accused of fatally stabbing 37-year-old Sean Schellenger, the owner of Streamline Solutions, in July 2018.

Before the trial could get started, the judge ruled on a motion by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to reduce the murder charges to voluntary manslaughter.



The judge agreed.

Two charges of evidence tampering and obstruction of justice were added.

In a motion, Krasner said he believes a jury is more likely to convict White of voluntary manslaughter.



Linda Schellenger, Sean's mother, said she's upset with Krasner's decision after she pleaded with him to not reduce the murder charge.

"I trust the jury, it's an insult in my mind, it's an insult to the people of Philadelphia, that Larry has played God, and has not allowed them to decide," Schellenger said.

Sean Schellenger



Last fall, a medical examiner testified Schellenger had a blood alcohol level of .199 and cocaine in his system the night he crossed paths with White in the 1700 block of Chancellor.

Two witnesses said Schellenger had been talking to someone in a car parked in front of the Mercedes he'd been riding in. They said White came up on the bicycle he used to deliver food.

The two started arguing and Schellenger moved toward White, who pulled a knife and held it at his side. They said Schellenger lunged at White, picking him up at the waist. The prosecution showed a surveillance image of the moment White stabbed Schellenger in the back.

White has claimed self-defense.

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Police press conference on deadly Center City stabbing on July 13, 2018.



On Monday, the defense pleaded with the judge for Schellenger to stop posting about Krasner's decision on social media saying it could sway the jury's decision.

Schellenger told Action News she's fighting on behalf of other mothers so murder charges aren't reduced to lesser charges in future cases.

"I wish I could fight to bring Sean back to life but unfortunately that's not gonna happen, so I have no choice but to fight for other people so they don't feel the way that we feel, we will never ever be the same ever," Schellenger said.



Jury selections were happening Monday and are excepted to continue into Tuesday. Then opening statements should begin on Thursday.
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