PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Prosecutors argued to a judge Friday morning that the man accused of fatally stabbing a well-known real estate developer in Rittenhouse Square last summer should go back to jail, after he attempted to contact the victim’s family through social media.
But against the prosecution’s request — and after seeing screenshots in which the 22-year-old requested to follow the brother of murdered victim Sean Schellenger on Instagram — the judge decided not to put Michael White in jail.
White has been charged with third-degree murder in the stabbing death of Schellenger near 17th and Chancellor streets in July 2018.
The Instagram follow request violated a court’s stay away order, prosecutors say, but White’s defense attorneys argued that White didn’t intentionally hit the request button. They say it was likely an algorithm error, and the victim’s family tried to make contact with White first.
White told the judge he didn’t make the request, but couldn’t say who did or why it happened.
Judge Glenn Bronson warned White that if anything like this were to happen again, he would be held in a contempt of court and would go back to jail.
The judge suggested White get off Instagram altogether to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
He also encouraged the victim’s family not to contact White, as the trial is set to begin in a few weeks. White remains on house arrest.