Philadelphia

Murder Charge Against College Student Arrested in Deadly Stabbing to Be Downgraded, Sources Say

Sources told NBC10 the murder charge against Michael White, 21, is expected to be downgraded from 1st degree to 3rd degree during a hearing Wednesday morning.

What to Know

  • The murder charge against 20-year-old Michael White is expected to be downgraded from 1st degree to 3rd degree, sources told NBC10.
  • White was arrested in the deadly stabbing of Philadelphia real estate developer Sean Schellenger.
  • Police say a confrontation occurred between White, Schellenger and two other men. Supporters of White say he acted in self-defense.

UPDATE: The murder charge against Michael White, a college student arrested for allegedly stabbing Philadelphia real estate developer Sean Schellenger to death last month, was downgraded to a third-degree offense and his bail was reduced at a preliminary hearing Wednesday.


The murder charge against a college student arrested in the deadly stabbing of a Philadelphia real estate developer is expected to be downgraded, according to law enforcement sources.

The murder charge against Michael White will be downgraded from 1st degree to 3rd degree during a hearing Wednesday morning, sources told NBC10. A 3rd-degree murder charge carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years while a 1st-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of mandatory life in prison.

Aside from the downgraded murder charge, prosecutors will proceed with the voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime charges against White, sources said.

Earlier this month, White, who turned 21 years old while in prison, surrendered to police in connection to the death of 37-year-old Sean Schellenger.

W. Robert Turner
Sean Schellenger. See Larger

Schellenger and two friends were driving in a Mercedes-Benz when a confrontation with White ensued near 17th and Chancellor streets in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse neighborhood on July 12, police said. White pulled a knife from his backpack and stabbed Schellenger, according to investigators.

White, a student at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, was making a food delivery on a bicycle at the time of the altercation, police said.

Greg Thompson, a spokesman for White's family, said he acted in self-defense and kept a knife in his backpack for protection because he delivered food late into the night.

A day after the stabbing, White walked out of True Gospel Tabernacle Family Church in South Philadelphia and turned himself in to police.

"Whether they reduce the charge, give him no charge, it's not going to bring Sean back," Patricia Strickland, Schellenger's friend, told NBC10. "He took away something valuable that he could not give back."

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Michael White speaks with family before turning himself over to police in the stabbing death of a real estate developer in the city's Rittenhouse section. See Larger
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