PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the first time, we’re hearing an apology from the man who was acquitted of fatally stabbing another man in Rittenhouse Square last year. The victim’s family says they found it hollow, at best.
Michael White received a warm welcome at the True Gospel Tabernacle Family Church in South Philadelphia. It was his first public appearance since being found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the fatal stabbing of Sean Schellenger.
“Me being free is bittersweet when you think about it. On the other side, someone lost their life and I realize that,” White said.
“We need to keep Michael and the Schellenger family covered with prayer,” Bishop Ernest McNear said. “There is healing that needs to be done.”
White thanked the congregation for its support.
After Thursday’s verdict, Schellenger’s mother, Linda, blamed Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner for fueling racial tensions around the case, and announced she plans on filing a civil lawsuit against White.
“They’re in a state of mind of grief and I’m the person who is technically responsible for that. I can’t really blame you for your reaction,” White said. “All I can do is move on with my life and hope that you can do the same.”
In a text message, Linda Schellenger said: “His empty words are not worthy of comment. He is a killer, he has blood on his hands and always will.”
White appeared to be visibly upset after speaking.
He held his head in his hands and was comforted by family and members of the church. He did not answer any questions as he left.
White has been convicted of tampering with evidence. He will be sentenced for that misdemeanor later this year.