In a standing-room-only Philadelphia courtroom on Tuesday, Michael White, charged with the stabbing death of developer Sean Schellenger near Rittenhouse Square, was held for trial on third-degree murder.
New details about the high-profile case emerged when two witnesses testified that they saw White, 21, a food deliveryman, holding a knife as Schellenger grabbed him and lifted him off the ground.
Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden ruled that there was enough evidence to hold White, 21, for trial on charges of third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and possessing an instrument of crime.
Erik Peterson, a server at Spice Finch, a restaurant at 17th and Chancellor Streets, said that shortly before 11 p.m. on July 12 he saw two men, one black and one white, talking on Chancellor when White, delivering food on a red bicycle, “inserted himself in the conversation.”
After Schellenger turned to White, Peterson said, he couldn’t hear what was said. But he said he saw White draw a knife in his right hand and hold it slightly behind his hip, the two men a few feet apart. White moved back, holding up his left hand as if signaling to stop, Peterson said.
Schellenger, 37, lowered his head and “charged” White, who raised the knife higher, Peterson said. The men fell to the ground, Peterson said. “I saw the fall and rising of the knife, but that’s when I turned away,” he said.
White, dressed in a cream shirt, striped tie, and sweater jacket, did not say anything openly during the hearing. He appeared solemn.
Outside the courthouse, Schellenger’s mother, Linda, said, “Justice was served today.”