New Documentary Examines 2018 Killing of Coatesville High School Grad


A new documentary by Philadelphia filmmaker Tigre Hill focuses on the killing of Sean Schellenger, a real estate developer in Philadelphia who graduated from Coatesville High School in 1999, and the subsequent trial of Michael White, the man who stabbed him, writes Victor Fiorillo for Philadelphia magazine.

The death was one of 351 homicides in the city in 2018, but it undoubtedly received the most media coverage.

“This was a very, very highly charged case involving race, class, and criminal justice reform, all mired in the politics of today,” said Hill. “It’s a microcosm of what has been going on with politics in the nation. You have two sides that very strongly advocated their position.”

Schellenger’s friends and family claim he was murdered, while White’s supporters claim he was acting in self-defense. The jury agreed with the latter and acquitted White on a manslaughter charge. He was instead sentenced on a minor charge associated with the case that resulted in two years of probation.

Entitled 72 Seconds in Rittenhouse Square, the documentary offers perspectives from both sides on what happened that fateful night in Rittenhouse Square.

“I knew it was gonna be hard to get people to come to the table, but eventually, they did,” said Hill.

Read more about the documentary in Philadelphia magazine here.

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