PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two families were forever changed in July 2018 when Michael White fatally stabbed Sean Schellenger. On Thursday, White was found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
Now White’s family is opening up for the first time about the verdict. They say they’ve been getting death threats.
And Schellenger’s mother, who refuses to give up her pursuit of justice, says she’s being threatened, too.
“We just want to be able to go back to our life and I need for my nephew to be able to go back to his life,” said White’s aunt Tonya Armstrong.
For the first time since Thursday’s verdict, White’s aunt and uncle spoke with CBS3.
The 22-year-old has lived with them for the past 15 months.
The anger following the verdict is now more palpable than ever.
“Michael has been receiving threats. And if Michael has been receiving threats, our family has been receiving threats,” White’s uncle Quinnell Armstrong said.
White’s family says the latest threat comes from an anonymous Craigslist post, which uses racist language and calls for people to move out of the city.
“All day, every day,” Linda Schellenger said of how often the family receives threats.
By phone, Sean’s mother says the hateful rhetoric has continued to pepper her family daily.
“We are afraid actually that we are not safe. I’ve used the alarm in my home, which I don’t use, for the last two weeks,” she said.
And though many hoped a verdict would bring closure for both families, it doesn’t appear that is the case.
“He feels remorseful. That’s something he’s got to take for the rest of his life,” Tonya Armstrong of White.
“Unfortunately, that’s lip service. Michael has not demonstrated any remorse to any of us after it happened, through the trial and still to date,” Schellenger said.
Schellenger blames District Attorney Larry Krasner for fueling the racial tensions surrounding the case. She also says she plans to file a civil lawsuit against White.
White’s family says he simply wants to return to his regular life.