Michael White, 22, testified Tuesday that he was afraid for his life during the July 2018 confrontation with Sean Schellenger near the city's tony Rittenhouse Square, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
White said Schellenger, 37, had been talking to a motorist caught in a traffic jam ahead of a car carrying the developer and his friends. White, who was delivering food on his bicycle, said he told him not to be a tough guy. He said Schellenger than approached, and he pulled a knife to try to scare the other man off before a physical confrontation ensued.
"I wasn't trying to kill nobody. I was trying to get him off me," White said, calling the encounter something that happened in "the blink of an eye."
He also said he "did not drive that knife that far" into Schellenger's back, suggesting that the other man's fall may have deepened the wound. White said he fled because he was in shock and scared, taking a train back to west Philadelphia, where he threw the knife onto the roof of a house. He turned himself in the next day and later told police where to find the weapon.
When defense attorneys said in August that White would testify that Schellenger made a racial remark, something he hadn't previously been accused of doing, prosecutors said there was no evidence of any such remark. White is black and Schellenger was white; the two men didn't know each other.
District Attorney Larry Krasner dropped a third-degree murder charge before trial, leaving only voluntary manslaughter and weapons counts, a decision strongly criticized by the victim's mother.
Closing arguments in the case were expected Wednesday.
Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com
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