Jury deliberations to resume Thursday in Michael White trial

Jurors resume deliberations Thursday in the case of a bicycle deliveryman charged in the stabbing death of a real estate developer during a traffic confrontation in Center City in July 2018.

Closing arguments were delivered Wednesday in the voluntary manslaughter trial of 22-year-old Michael White in the July 2018 confrontation with 37-year-old Sean Schellenger near Rittenhouse Square.

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In closing arguments, Michael White’s legal team called the fatal stabbing an act of self-defense. They claimed evidence showed Sean Schellenger drunk and drug-impaired had threatened to “beat the black off” White at the scene of a traffic dispute, then tackled White after White pulled a knife, retreated and told him to back away.

“When people are attacked, they do what they need to do to make sure they are not harmed," defense attorney  Keir Bradford-Gray said.

Prosecutors told jurors this was a deliberate killing that White injected himself into a minor traffic dispute that night and escalated the conflict by pulling a knife and threatening Schellenger.

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Assistant District Attorney Sherrell Dandy said Schellenger acted in self-defense, trying to disarm the knife-wielding White, who stabbed him in the back as the pair tumbled to the street.

“You cannot bring a knife to a fistfight. He needs to be held accountable," Dandy said.

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The jury is expected back Thursday morning.

The district attorney dropped a third-degree murder charge before trial, leaving only voluntary manslaughter and weapons counts, a decision strongly criticized by Schellenger's mother.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.