Morgan State University student Michael White was making late-night Uber Eats deliveries on July 12 when he crossed paths with 37-year-old real estate developer Sean Schellenger near Center City in Philadelphia. The pair argued, but we know little about what occurred between them that led to Schellenger getting out of a vehicle, coming face-to-face with White who was on a bike and being stabbed in the fatal altercation.

White turned himself in, and we've compiled nine things we know about the incident.

1. Eyewitnesses say Schellenger was drinking at a local bar before the confrontation.  

The Philadelphia Tribune reports witnesses placed Schellenger at a bar before the deadly confrontation with two men. It is unclear whether these are the same friends who were in the car with him during the incident. Little information about their connection to the argument with White is available. However, witnesses further reported that the struggle between them initially centered around a traffic argument.

2. White spent his 21st birthday behind bars.

After turning himself in, police charged White with first-degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime. White remained behind bars without bail at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Holmesburg until recently.

With his bail set at $150,000, the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund (PCBF) and the Philadelphia Bail Fund (PBF) paid the necessary 10 percent for White to wait for his next hearing at home, instead of behind bars, on August 2. In a joint statement, the funds agreed that White was given an “unaffordable” and “unconstitutional” bail amount considering his income, NBC Philadelphia reports. On Twitter, the organizations promised to celebrate his release.

3. White was a student at Morgan State University.

The 20-year-old was majoring in sociology/anthropology at the HBCU. He was also a poet and has no prior criminal convictions.  

4. Schellenger has had previous run-ins with the law. 

The Philadelphia Tribune reports Schellenger was involved in two physical altercations with police officers and was convicted for disorderly conduct. 

5. According to Greg Thompson, who has been acting as a spokesman for White’s family, the student kept a knife in his backpack for protection. 

As a late night delivery man, Thompson says the knife White carried was for safety measures. White’s family has co-signed this claim, saying he acted out of self-defense after Schellenger tackled him. During a meeting with prosecutors, White instructed investigators on how to find the blade.  

6. District Attorney Larry Krasner said video evidence could not prove White had any intention to kill Schellenger. 


This would aid in the later removal of harsher charges, Fox 29 reports. Prosecutors are currently seeking third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime charges, Philly Mag reports. Third-degree murder charges call for a maximum prison sentence of 20 to 40 years.

7. Schellenger's mother believes her son’s death is being used by the district attorney for political gain. 


After the preliminary hearing, Linda Schellenger, Sean Schellenger’s mother, released a statement saying, “I was manipulated by Larry Krasner. He was intellectually dishonest. He overruled his own prosecutors. They have clear footage that would have allowed them to hold on murder 1 and no bail. Larry showed up at a preliminary hearing, which is rare, to grandstand for political purposes. My son has become his political pawn. I wanted to trust him. He breached and abused that trust.”

The District Attorney's Office holds firm to the claim lawyers met with Linda hours before the hearing so she would not be surprised by their arguments, and “the email statement released this evening is starkly different from what Mrs. Schellenger repeatedly said… before, as well as during and after the preliminary hearing,” DA office representatives said

8. Many saw White’s bail as evidence of a system set against minorities who are forced to remain in prison due to economic restraints. 

“Michael White’s case demonstrates the injustice of the cash bail system, which despite recent reforms, still makes poverty a crime in Philadelphia,” PBF co-founder and vice president Malik Neal said. “Every day people like Michael are stripped of their freedom without being tried simply because of their inability to pay bail.”

Zoe Goldberg, a coordinator for PBF, believes high bail amounts also work to “strip away the presumption of innocence.”

9. White’s next hearing is set for October 30.

While White awaits his next hearing, he will remain on house arrest. 

“It’s a blessing. I’m glad he is home,” White’s uncle, Quinnell Armstrong said. “He has a way to go, and we have a long way to go to finish up the case.”

As those following the case continue to pursue questions surrounding what video evidence shows and what information has been kept from the public, the PCBF and the PBF find a small win in being able to ensure White's waiting time is spent at home. 

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