What to Know
- A third-degree murder charge carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years.
- White, 21, is expected to post bond on $150,000 bail and be released to the custody of his family.
- It remains unknown what exactly triggered the alleged incident.
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 set at a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
White, 21, is expected to post bond on $150,000 bail and be released in the coming days to the custody of his family. He previously was held without bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 30, according to court records.
A third-degree murder charge carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years. Prosecutors will proceed with the voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime charges against White.
Schellenger and two friends were driving in a Mercedes-Benz when a confrontation with White occurred near 17th and Chancellor streets in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse neighborhood in the late evening July 12, police said. White pulled a knife from his backpack and stabbed Schellenger, according to investigators.
Schellenger and two friends had been drinking at a nearby bar prior to the alleged deadly confrontation, according to witnesses.
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. At a meeting with prosecutors last week, according to officials, White allegedly told investigators where to find the knife.
It remains unknown what exactly triggered the alleged incident.
District Attorney Larry Krasner, who was in the Center City courtroom where White's hearing was held, talked twice with Schellenger's mother prior to the hearing.
White will be placed on house arrest, with electronic monitoring, when he posts bail, according to conditions imposed by the court.
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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 prior to the hearing Wednesday. "He took away something valuable that he could not give back."