Michael White sentenced to 2 years probation in Rittenhouse stabbing case

Kristen Johanson
January 09, 2020 - 11:33 am
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UPDATED: 5:28 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Michael White, the man at the center of the high-profile Rittenhouse fatal stabbing case, was sentenced Thursday morning for his single misdemeanor conviction.

A jury acquitted White of any criminal wrongdoing in the July 2018 stabbing death of Sean Schellenger, but he was convicted of tampering with evidence for tossing a bloody T-shirt, a backpack and the knife used in the killing into a trash can.

Judge Glenn Bronson sentenced White to two years of probation, despite his defense team asking for no further punishment.

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Homicide Supervisor for the District Attorney's Office Anthony Voci requested time-served to 12 months.

"The goal was to have him under supervision for two years, which is exactly what the judge did, just in a different mechanism," Voci said.

Schellenger's family was not in the courtroom, but they issued a statement: "Our life sentence began on July 12, 2018 when Sean was fatally stabbed with a deadly weapon. The sentencing is, hopefully, the last episode in (District Attorney Larry) Krasner’s finely orchestrated obstruction of justice. We have endured enough pain at the hand of The Killer, The DA and (Public Defender Keir) Bradford-Grey.

"Sean Schellenger was intelligent, articulate, successful and kind and no one can ever take those qualities away from him or us!"

They were prohibited from making victim impact statements at the sentencing, because the judge concluded the conviction was tied to the investigation, not directly to the death itself.

"I was in communication with them throughout the week, and with their attorney both this morning and last evening," Voci said. "I don’t know why they did not attend, other than the court's ruling they were not allowed to give victim impact testimony."

An attorney for the family said they are beyond upset and felt threatened by White’s defense team.

In court, White apologized to the judge for the "disruption" in the case, and said he was reacting in the heat of the moment.

"It ain’t behind me yet. It will be behind me when I get off probation," White said. "I am just happy this part of my life is over, and now I can focus on the future, working hard to be the person I always envisioned myself to be."

The defense said White is trying to rebuild his life through work, education, therapy and mentorship programs.

"I just take it one day at time," White said. "I just want to live my life."

The judge called Schellenger’s death senseless and tragic, and acknowledged his family’s devastation.

White said he's still praying for Schellenger's family. 

"Still kept the same energy since July 12," he said. "That’s all I got to say."

In a statement, public defender Bradford-Grey said they are happy to "finally be at the end of what has been an ordeal for both families."

"While it is our responsibility to provide a vigorous defense and provide the best outcome under the law for all of our clients, we also extend our deepest sympathies to the Schellengers, who have suffered a tremendous loss. We feel that the Judge’s sentence appropriately reflects what we know about Michael White: he is no danger to the public, and that he has, and will continue to make positive contributions to his community during and after his probation."