Judge bars Schellenger family impact statements for White sentencing

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The family of Sean Schellenger, the man stabbed to death nearly two years ago near Rittenhouse Square, will not be allowed to give victim impact statements at a sentencing hearing for Michael White, the man who killed him. 

Victim impact statements are meant for judges to take into consideration for sentencing. But since a jury found Michael White not guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the 2018 stabbing death of Sean Schellenger, Judge Glenn Bronson said it would be an "error of law" to allow them to give victim impact statements.

Bronson acknowledged the Schellenger family's "tremendous loss," noting it was "horrible" and said Sean was a "beloved person," who was doing "great things," but followed up that since a jury found White did not commit a crime when he killed Schellenger, it would be an "abuse of discretion" for him to allow their testimony.

White was convicted of tampering with evidence for tossing the knife, but Bronson said the family is not a direct victim of that conviction.

Judges must act on case law when they make such decisions. Prosecutors did outline two cases bearing some similarities where victim's families did testify, but it did not match White's case, the judge found.

White will be sentenced next month.