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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Months after a deadly stabbing in Rittenhouse Square, new revelations about the crime have come to light. Michael White is accused of killing real estate developer Sean Schellenger in July during a traffic dispute.
White’s attorneys argue it was self-defense, but the prosecution, however, says they have evidence that shows otherwise.
Just three months after being accused of killing a man in Rittenhouse Square, White, a former college student, walked into the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday morning for his preliminary hearing.
Dozens of his supporters filled the courthouse, along with Schellenger’s family. Schellenger is the businessman that White is accused of fatally stabbing.
“So everybody is going to view this case through their own lens,” said prosecutor Anthony Voci. “The reality is nobody is ever going to know what was going through Sean’s mind that at that time.”
Voci called two witnesses who were on Chancellor Street on July 12 and saw the fatal stabbing.
White was a food courier on a bike passing by Schellenger who had just left a restaurant with friends.
Schellenger was one of three men in a Mercedes that stopped on 17th and Chancellor Streets. Schellenger got out of the car to alleviate a traffic jam on the street, and that’s when a fight broke out between the two.
Both witnesses agree White and Schellenger began arguing on the street, and at some point, White pulled out a knife. He warned Schellenger not to come closer to him, but then Schellenger charged at White, grabbed him by the hips and lifted him off the ground.
That is when White’s hand came down and stabbed Schellenger once in the back.
“I would like to think, based on my knowledge of him through his friends and family, that he was trying to disarm a dangerous person,” said Voci.
But White’s attorney, Dan Stevenson, argued that Schellenger was the aggressor and cited a toxicology report that showed Schellenger may have been under the influence.
“Mr. Schellenger was a large man who was very drunk. His blood alcohol level was .199. He had also been using cocaine,” said Stevenson. “One witness testified when Michael White was standing there with a knife and he physically got his hand up, come no further.”
Stevenson used that argument to try and get the judge to take third-degree murder off the table in the case, but the judge denied that motion.
“On behalf of my son Sean, who is dead, and on behalf of the moms bonded by grief, I am standing here to say that justice was served today,” said Schellenger’s mother, Linda Schellenger.
The judge did rule that White can be taken off house arrest.