PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mark Schellenger and his family are still dismayed by a jury’s verdict that found their son’s killer not guilty of voluntary manslaughter. On Thursday, Michael White was found not guilty in the 2018 fatal stabbing of Sean Schellenger.
White used the word “bittersweet” when talking for the first time since the ruling while in church Sunday. He also apologized.
But Schellenger’s family says the apology was “empty words.”
“When you’re 5 years old, you’re taught to apologize and when you do, you’re taught to apologize to the person you need to apologize to,” Mark Schellenger said. “This is just further PR on the killer’s part, and quite frankly, people that have been coaching him throughout. It’s for the public, it’s not for us.”
Much of the family’s anger is directed at Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who just days before the trial, removed a third-degree murder charge.
“We fully expected it,” Schellenger said. “This was manufactured by Larry Krasner from the outset. We were never represented. Our views were never represented, everything we asked for went the other way.”
The family believes the defense portrayed Sean Schellenger as racist to distract and confuse the jury.
“Sean can’t defend himself. He’s dead,” Mark Schellenger said. “It was just done to save the killer’s rear end at the expense of my son’s memory. And if there is anything I’m here for, and I’ll always be here for, Sean Schellenger was no racist.”
He wants to clear his son’s name.
“He’s supposed to be the victim but he was put on trial there. He was trashed,” Schellenger said.
White’s lawyers said Sean Schellenger hurled a racially charged phrase at White, and then picked him up and swung him around in the air. Schellenger was stabbed during the scuffle that lasted only seconds.
The Schellenger family also questions testimony where White accused his son of being racist. He says police never located a corroborating witness.
CBS3 reached out to a spokesperson for the DA’s office but have not heard back.