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There are numerous rumors being circulated and a lot of misinformation being spread about the Michael White case. As a public service to The Philadelphia Tribune readers, I am now providing irrefutable facts and applicable law in the following ten points:

1. On July 12 at around 10:50 pm near 17th and Chancellor streets in the Rittenhouse Square area during a traffic jam, three white men, including 37-year-old Sean Schellenger and two other men, exited a vehicle. Shortly thereafter, they encountered a 20-year-old Black man named Michael J. White who was on a bicycle working at that time as a food deliveryman. An argument amongst the four ensued. It ended with Schelllenger being fatally stabbed, White fleeing (but later voluntarily surrendering), and one of the two remaining white men mysteriously leaving the scene before police arrived.

2. White has absolutely no criminal convictions.

3. Schellenger has three arrests including two involving physical confrontations with police and a disorderly conduct arrest for which he was convicted.

4. White, a poet, was a sociology/anthropology major at Morgan State University, which is a prestigious HBCU in Baltimore.

5. A witness (who’s either a contemporaneous eye-witness or a subsequent ear-witness or possibly both) stated that Schellenger — who had been a college and high school football star — initiated the physical confrontation with White by “tackling” him. That same witness said that Schellenger and his two friends were “heavily intoxicated,” that Schellenger made a racial remark, and that Schellenger then “spit in... [White’s] face” immediately before “tackling” him. Another eyewitness described Schellenger as “aggressive” during the confrontation.

6. White is represented by a major criminal defense law firm that has more investigative and forensic resources for murder cases than any law firm in the entire Commonwealth. That law firm also has the most experienced homicide litigators of any law firm in the entire Commonwealth.

7. That law firm is called the Defender Association of Philadelphia. And I’m sure most of you are shocked to read that because you’ve heard public defenders are not real lawyers. And the reason you’ve heard that is because people believe you get what you pay for and since defendants pay no money to public defenders then they get no defense from public defenders. Nothing could be further from the truth — especially in regard to the Defender Association’s handling of murder cases. First of all, real law school grads who pass real bar exams have to get through real interviews to be hired at the Defender Association. After that, they have to get through a rigorous probationary period working in court at hearings and trials as mentees to experienced Defender Association litigating mentors. If — and only if — they excel during that period, they finally become litigators themselves.

8. That law firm, which has more than 200 attorneys and represents 70 percent of the adults and juveniles who are arrested in the city, is headed by Keir Bradford-Grey, Esquire who is not only a strong Black woman but also is a skilled pit bull trial lawyer and a remarkably innovative administrator. Prior to being appointed as Philly’s Chief Defender, she was Montgomery County’s Chief Defender and before that a federal public defender in the state of Delaware. By the way, thanks to Bradford-Grey, that Delaware office became number one in acquittals among all federal defender offices throughout the country.

9. The trial attorney handpicked by Bradford-Grey to represent White is Dan Stevenson, Esquire — Chief of the Homicide/Special Defense Unit. I know Dan personally. I’ve worked with him on high profile murder cases, including a recent death penalty case in which we saved the lives of our respective clients, two young Black men. And I can assure the Black community that White is in excellent hands because Stevenson is representing him. When the preeminent Charles Hamilton Houston, who was the brains behind the legal strategy in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, said, “A lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite on society,” he was talking about the type of social engineer that Stevenson is. What impressed me most about Stevenson when I had the pleasuring of working with — and often relying upon — him was not just his experience and intellect because I had already heard about that. Instead, it was also his “wokeness” in that he understands that, although the law is important, justice is even more important. That’s precisely why he approaches the law not only as a lawyer but as a social justice warrior as well as a father and uncle and brother to each of the hundreds of murder clients he’s represented throughout his illustrious 37-year career. Even though he was hesitant to speak with anyone from the media about this case due to attorney-client confidentiality, he agreed to speak exclusively with The Philadelphia Tribune when I told him that many in the Black community were worried that White didn’t have a “real lawyer.” While making it clear to me that he would speak cautiously in order to avoid breaching any ethical obligations during his first public statement, here’s what he said: “Michael White was making a delivery on his bicycle for UberEats when he encountered some men exiting a Mercedes-Benz and arguing with the driver of a Ford Taurus who they thought was blocking their way. Then some words were exchanged with Michael and one of the three, a man significantly larger than Michael, attacked him and he was compelled to defend himself. Michael is a soft-spoken young man. He was just going about his business when he was set upon. He certainly didn’t begin work that night intending to harm anyone.”

10. The next court date is Aug. 1 at 9 a.m. in courtroom 306 of the Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Center at 1301 Filbert Street. A preliminary hearing is scheduled on that date, the only purpose of which is for a judge to determine if there’s “any” evidence that a crime was committed and if there’s “any” evidence that White committed it. The good news for White is that he has a perfect self-defense (legally known as “justification” defense) argument. The bad news for him is that such an argument cannot legally be made at a preliminary hearing, only much later at a trial. However, a defense attorney’s goal at a preliminary hearing involving the type of circumstances that exist in this kind of case is not to get a dismissal but to get a reduction. In other words, the attorney will attempt to show the judge that the criminal allegations, even if accepted as true, do not rise to the level of first degree murder, which requires an “intentional” criminal homicide (which, in turn, means “willful, deliberate, and premeditated) or second degree murder, which requires a felony, for example robbery, as part of the criminal homicide. The attorney, for preliminary hearing purposes only, will argue that the allegations amount to nothing more than third degree murder, which is an intent to merely hurt but death inadvertently results or voluntary manslaughter, which is an unreasonable belief in the need for deadly self-defense or is a killing resulting from “sudden and intense passion.” I must be clear here: An attorney in such a case will not concede at a preliminary hearing that his/her client committed any crime whatsoever. That attorney will simply raise the only argument he/she can procedurally raise at a preliminary hearing, i.e., that this is nothing more than a third degree murder case or, even better, a voluntary manslaughter case because those charges allow for bail. First and second degree murder do not allow for bail. And once White is out of jail on bail, he can be in a much better position to help Stevenson prepare a zealous trial defense and can also be with his loving family. But mostly, he can be treated by the legal system like he’s presumed innocent. After all, he is.

Michael Coard, Esquire can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. His “Radio Courtroom” show can be heard on WURD96.1FM. And his “TV Courtroom” show can be seen on PhillyCam/Verizon/Comcast.

(52) comments

Guest

Thank you so much for this information Michael Coard. While reading the circumstances you outlined I could not help but think of the "Stand Your Ground" law and wondered if this law applies to the state of Pa. My guess is that it does not or this case would already be closed. My plan is to attend the hearing on Aug 1.

Guest

Stand your ground only applies on your property. The POS murdered someone bc he’s trash. I can’t believe the media is spinning it as though he didn’t pull out a large knife and stab a man in the back. His life was not in danger. He is a cowardly worthless piece of garbage.

Linda Randolph-Ragin

My comment above.

Pastor Pamm

Thank you Michael. Thus is excellent information.

Guest

Thanks Michael for the explanation that MSM never delivers.

Guest

Thank you.

Naeemah

Thank you for breaking it all down My Prayers are with Michael & his Family 🙌🏼🙏🏽 Michael could have been my son Justice for Michael

Guest

Not on either side here. Let justice win, but I fail to see where some of these facts are irrefutable. 1. Not all three men were white. 2. How did that witness have time to give the three men a sobriety test? 3. Wasn’t Mr. White convicted of receiving stolen property? And a few other offenses? 4. Morgan State confirmed he dropped out. I’m all for fairness, but this this insulting to readers.

Guest

Mr. White doesn’t have any priors, that is public record while the deceased had several run ins with the law and was charged with assault before.

Guest

Michael White was allowed to enter the Accelerated Misdemeanor Program last year for a case involving non-violent offenses. See docket number MC-51-CR-0033124-2017.

1 / Poss Of Marijuana
2 / Theft By Unlaw Taking-Movable Prop 3 / Receiving Stolen Property
4 / Poss Instrument Of Crime W/Int
5 / Conspiracy

01/22/2018
AMP Penalties Imposed
Defendant entered into the Accelerated Misdemeanor Program
Subpoena received
Conditions: 18 hours of community service plus fines and costs of $221.25

Guest

That program is a diversionary program does not result in a conviction. So it is correct to say he does not have any priors.

Guest

Typically ARD lasts for one year. You CANNOT be arrested during that time you are under ARD. Why is this kid getting a pass??

Guest

Michael has been “charged” with murder! Sean was only convicted of disorderly conduct....a charge you can get for pissing on a tree. As far as his other “charges” never convicted.... innocent till proven guilty, right? Guess he was innocent as that was 10 years ago....

Guest

Sean also placed himself in the position to die! He and his friends could have remained in the car and kept it moving however they chose to exit the car and display whatever power they thought they had causing for one to lose their life, wonder if his “friends” told his mom how they killed his friend!

Guest

So anyone who gets out of a car is allowed to be killed? That’s what you said right? Sean is at fault? Getting out of the car puts him in position to be stabbed? Interesting. Shines light on who you are as a person, and invalidates any opinion you have.

Guestk

Ard look it up

Guest

as a person who works in the service industry, it is my job to tell if someone is a VIP (visibly intoxicated person) it takes seconds to tell if someone is visibly intoxicated.

Guest

He actually wasn't convicted of receiving stolen property. He was charged with it in January but the chargers were minor involving some pot and if he completes a program then the charges will be erased from his record. It's an ARD program. Also, I didn't know Morgan State confirmed he dropped out? Could you post where you read that? Thanks!

Guest

It’s always go back to an innocent person background. Not true facts. This is how this unfair system work. Seven years police officer and six years in corrections (officer). I have seen it worked in person.

Guest

Michael White has been arrested, non violent offenses. His loving relationship with his parents?? This was stated on his Go Fund Me for Morgan State (which has been taken down) which he had set up for college - his words - "My family hasn't had the best luck financially, especially with my parents being very UNINVOLVED in my life" - "battling a long TOXIC relationship with my mother".......He stabbed him in the back? Stop making every single thing about race. If this was a black on black case (like the shootings that happen every day) this wouldn't get the attention. Why don't they get any attention?????

Guest

DUUHHHHH stop citing black on black crime you sound like a moron, voilent crimes are generally inflicted by individuals of the same race i.e. every fight i've ever been in is white on white

Guest

Excuse you. It was made racial by the fact that Schellenger used racial slurs.

Guest

There is absolutely no evidence that Sean used any racial slurs...you know who said he did....Michael White....and why are we to believe him? If you look at Sean's family/friends/background/charity work/how he lived his life you would know to say he did is a joke. Michael White was trying to make an excuse and it doesn't fly.

Guest

Mr. Schellenger’s offenses were in his 20’s. I’m willing to bet he didn’t have two nickels to rub together at that time. He was 37 when he passed and had millions of dollars. Obviously he had much more to lose now than he did back then. Are you the same person at 37 as you were at 20 years old? Also, if the three-man tackled Mr. White, how did he have time to pull a knife out of his backpack , Also if three men were violently attacking him why was his face completely unscathed. Why did he not have Marques from three-man violently attacking him?

Guest

Wow. Just by judging from the comments this author is full of BS. I hope Michael gets a fair trial, but shame on this author for making a tragedy about race. Two mothers lost sons in this, and now we have to reade about this nonsense. Shame on you.

Guest

It’s a black publication. It will have a pro black spin. Do I think he murdered him in cold blood? No. I think there was indeed a fight, and white felt threatened and stabbed Schellenger. I don’t think either mans “priors” should come in to play as neither have anything notable in the last decade. This is an unfortunate situation involving alcohol as well. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. I feel for both men and their families.

Guest

Michael Coard is an attorney so I would believe he would know his facts when it come to the law.

Guest

Publications that have a stated bias towards one cultural group and an obvious bias against another cultural group are inherently racist.

Guest

Mr. Coard clearly stated in the article that there were eye witnesses who heard Mr Schellenger and his friends yelling racial slurs at Mr White...Sooo why wouldn’t this be about race? 🤔

Guest

Schellenger and his buddy we're drunk. They got out of the car ready to make the driver blocking them to move. I assume they were not intent on a friendly conversation. They began to call young Mr. White, who was minding his own business, racially charged epithets. Schellenger spit in Michael's face, then tackled him. Regardless of Michael's experiences, he is entitled to defend himself. Otherwise, couldn't Michael havy been killed? What I see as racist particularly is the coverage in the Inquirer.

Guest

“Schedule fee and his buddy were drunk” - Where is your evidence? Even if he was that does not necessitate a hostile action.

“They began to call young Mr. White...racially charged epiteths” - again a racially charged assumption. There is no evidence that this happened. Of course the guy who inserted himself into another persons argument couldn’t be at fault...

Would Michael have been killed? Absolutely not if he hadn’t inserted himself into the situation.

Guest

Schellenger's use of racial slurs made it about race, not the author of the article and certainly not the readers. Use some critical thought.

Guest

I am happy that MW has a strong defense team to combat these charges. MW is in my prayers.

Guest

Ha ha social warrior..what made up drivel

Guest

Mr White was spat upon first, which is assault, then called a racist name and then assaulted again by being tackled to the ground. What did you espect this young man to do? I see so many saying don’t play the race card, or, the deceased didn’t have a racist bone in his body,(until he put alcohol in it). The witnesses apparently saw what they saw. The deceased was drunk, started a fight with and attacked an innocent bystander and lost his life in the process. Bringing up misdemeanor charges against Mr White that were later resolved thru the ARD program has nothing to do with him defending his life against a man that obviously initiated and inflicted bodily harm upon him. If the victim was black and the accused were white, most of you definately justify that he deserved it and would quickly close the book....

Guest

You must have read a different article then I did...according to THIS article...ONE witness who may not have even seen the incident but heard it afterward “subsequent ear-witness” made those claims. That’s the only evidence of any of that so far..... I’m sure if the other witnesses saw any of that it would have been mentioned. Sounds about as legit as the “witness” who said there was no other car involved and the three men jumped out and just attacked MJW.... clearly he was a liar who trying to make this into a racial thing when it’s not.

Guest

Wow. You must have been there. Tell me since you’re so knowledgeable of the facts..... when are you scheduled to testify?

Guest

I wonder how Mr Board had access to these so called "irrefutable facts" as at this point all of the discovery has not been made public. And I am not sure what an "ear witness" is! If ear witness testimony is what I think it is, then it is inadmissible hearsay.

Guest

Guess you will have to follow the case.

Guest

TY, Michael. We will continue to keep both families in prayer. Araminta WURD Member👍🏾/Listener

Guest

Goes to show you the credibility of the article’s author and how ‘stellar’ he must be at his day job, precinct-chasing. A shameless racist agenda in favor of a person who murdered someone by stabbing them in the back with a giant machete, simply because the murderer was black and victim White, also goes to show you how accountability is not a term in certain people’s lexicon. In other news, I hear Krasner needs a few ‘good’ men like you.

Guest

I never knew so many people posting here were actually at the crime scene and witness the incident with their own eyes.

Guest

It's amazing to me that many of your "facts" have no basis in reality. You are trying to paint a picture of Michael J. White that simply is not true. You are trying to make your readers believe he has never been in trouble with the law...incorrect. According to court records, he was charged with possession of marijuana, theft, receiving stolen property, possession of an instrument of crime with intent to employ it criminally, and conspiracy in November 2017. In January of 2018, he was entered into an Accelerated Misdemeanor Program and was ordered to pay fines and complete community service. Apparently this program did not work as Michael J. White was in possession of an instrument of crime again on July 12th and stabbed Sean Schellenger in the back. Michael J. White is not a college student...he is a college dropout (did he return the money to the people who donated to his college fund via GoFundMe?). Have you taken a look at his Facebook page (since removed?) I will quote Michael J. White: "After my father went to jail, it changed my whole perspective on parenting, but most importantly, my perspective on men and what it actually means to be a man. I thought because of my environment I had to go out and sell drugs because I wasn't old enough to have a job when my dad left. I though I had to pick a fight with just about anybody who even dared tried to disrespect me whenever I felt it." and another one: "if my family outside my immediate family knew what was going on, a whole lot would be different. and I can't help but think things would be better if a couple family members were dead." Just a nice, sweet poet...I don't think so.

Guest

To add to your post...he had a job as an Uber delivery man for all of one week prior to committing this murder. Don’t make it sound like he was some hard working college student when he was 1) no longer enrolled 2) had a job for one week.

Guest

Thank God your opinions or thoughts don't matter.

Guest

Thank God your opinions or thoughts don't matter.

Guest

Mr. Coard, considering that PA is a stand your ground state, wondering how that law applies to this case/incident with Michael. Thanks in advance for your response.

Guest

It is a “stand your ground” state but has a clause that to stand your ground the person you are “standing your ground against” has to have access or possession of a lethal weapon such as a gun or knife with ability to use it. Sean was unarmed and had no way of knowing the perp had a knife, so my understanding of the law is that it would not be a “stand your ground” case.

Guest

This is a wonderful article. Thank you! I can vouch that I have honestly had a better experience with the Philadelphia Defender Assoc than I have had with high paid defense private attorneys. I hope that Michael is in good hands. This must be a nightmare for him and his family. It seems to me that it was self defense. I read that lots of couriers in the city carry weapons and that couriers being assaulted and threaten is a problem in the city. This is such a tragedy. I hope a jury will be able to see so.

Guest

It’s sad that this happened. The accused was delivering for his job, he didn’t go out to murder someone. The victim got out of the car to cause trouble. Not knowing facts or being there I would say this is self defense.

jmw32846

Seems to me that the facts of this basic undisputed facts are: Person A sticks a 6 inch knife blade into the back of Person B and then flees the scene. Whether B was/is a racist is debated. Whether B was intimidated or uncomfortable is also debated. Seems to me that there is no question but that B murdered/killed person Person A. Krasner needs to go before we get more Arthur Bomars

jmw32846

Is Michael White a currently enrolled student at Morgan State? Was he ever?

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