PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia bicycle deliveryman who was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of a real estate developer was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation for evidence tampering in the case.
In a case in which race played a role, a jury previously found that Michael White, 22, acted in self-defense in the July 2018 stabbing of 37-year-old Sean Schellenger during a confrontation sparked by a traffic dispute near the city’s upscale Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. Jurors convicted White of evidence tampering for tossing the knife onto a roof as he fled and disposing of his bloody clothes.
White, who is black, did not know Schellenger, who was white, and was not involved in the traffic dispute. Schellenger had been drinking with friends at a nearby restaurant before the confrontation with White, who was riding past the traffic dispute on his way to deliver food.
White’s attorneys argued that Schellenger, a former Penn State University football player, was physically intimidating and intoxicated. White testified that he pulled the knife in self-defense.
White said Schellenger made a racist remark as the altercation started, saying he threatened to “beat the black off” of him. Prosecutors said no one corroborated the remark.
“I’m just happy this part of my life is over,” White said outside the courtroom Thursday. He said he continues to pray for Schellenger’s family.