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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Matthew White Murder Case

     In 1979, Matthew White, a six-foot-eleven center from Bethesda, Maryland, led the University of Pennsylvania Quakers to the NCAA final four. White was picked that year in the fifth round of the NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers. Instead of entering the NBA, he earned a MBA from the Wharton School of Business. In 1984 Mr. White moved to Spain where, for the next twelve years, he played professional basketball. While in Spain the basketball player met and married Marie Reyes Garcia-Pellon.

     In 2010 after he suffered a stroke, Mr. White and Garcia-Pellon moved from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania to Nether Providence, a township near the eastern Pennsylvania town of Media. He, his wife and their 20-year-old son and teen-age daughter moved into a ranch-style home. Garcia-Pellon worked as a teacher's aide at the Nether Providence Elementary School.

     On February 10, 2013 the 55-year-old former Ivy League basketball star took his wife to an area hospital after her friends expressed concern about her mental health. Garcia-Pellon, no stranger to mental illness, had previously undergone psychiatric treatment. For some reason she was not admitted into the hospital that Sunday.

     On Monday afternoon, February 11, 2013, a friend of Garcia-Pellon's called the police department to report that Matthew White may have been murdered by his wife. At the Nether Providence house police officers found Matthew White sprawled out dead in the master bedroom. He had been stabbed in the neck.

     When questioned at the death scene Garcia-Pellon told the responders that sometime between midnight and one in the morning she got out of bed and walked into the kitchen where she picked up two knives. She returned to her husband, slipped the knives under her side of the bed and waited for him to fall asleep. When she was certain he was asleep she used one of the knives to stab him in the neck. The victim rose up, cried, "I'm dying, I'm dying" then fell back onto the bed and died.

     After killing her husband Garcia-Pellon got dressed and left the house. (Her son was no longer living at home and her daughter was attending college.) Later in the day she showed up at a friend's house. Garcia-Pellon told her friend that she had stabbed Matthew in the neck as he slept. The friend called the police.

     As a police officer handcuffed the 52-year-old murder suspect, Garcia-Pellon said, "I caught him looking at pornography, young girls. I love kids. I had to do it." (According to the police there was no evidence in White's computer that he had been viewing child pornography.)

     On Monday night the Delaware County district attorney charged Garcia-Pellon with first-degree murder, criminal homicide and possession of an instrument of crime. She was held without bail in the Delaware County Jail.

     Kathryn Labrum, Garcia-Pellon's Media, Pennsylvania attorney, on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 told reporters that her client was "so separated from reality right now." The lawyer described Garcia-Pellon's mental state as a "psychiatric crises." Attorney Labrum  said:  "He [Matthew White] knew that she needed help, tried to get her help and there you have it--a beautiful family ruined."

     In February 2015, after being found guilty of murder but mentally ill (a verdict that required mental health treatment while serving a 25-year prison term) the judge immediately probated Garcia-Pellon's sentence and ordered her transferred from the jail to the Norristown State Hospital. The judge did not believe the prison system was equipped to deal with someone so insane. The adjusted sentence meant that Garcia-Pellon, when declared sane, could be placed back into society. No one associated with this case seemed to object to this outcome.


  1. The wife is a religious nutjob as well.

    1. I happen to know she is an Agnostic. I know the family well.