An attorney for a suburban Philadelphia woman accused of fatally stabbing her husband _ a member of the University of Pennsylvania's 1979 Final Four team _ says her client has mental health problems.
Matthew White was found stabbed in the neck around 12:45 p.m. Monday in bed at his home, police said, and was pronounced dead a short time later. An officer responding to the home for a report of a stabbing found White's wife, Maria Rey Garcia-Pellon, as she pulled into the driveway, authorities said. As she was being taken into custody, according to a police affidavit, she said, "I caught him looking at pornography, young girls. I love kids. I had to do it."
Her attorney, Kathy Labrum, tells the Delaware County Daily Times her client has been having mental difficulties. The Associated Press left a message for Labrum on Wednesday.
White was the starting center on the Penn team that went to the 1979 semifinals before losing 101-67 to eventual national champion Michigan State, led by Magic Johnson. White went on to be drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers and also played in Europe.
Garcia-Pellon, 52, was in custody, and a telephone message left at her home was not immediately returned.
Maria Rey Garcia-Pellon, Credit: Delaware County Courthouse
Investigators said they interviewed a friend of Garcia-Pellon, who told them she had come to her house Monday afternoon and said she had stabbed her 53-year-old husband after catching him viewing pornography — possibly child pornography — on the computer. The friend called police.
While being interviewed by police, authorities said, Garcia-Pellon claimed that between midnight and 1 a.m. Monday she went to the kitchen, had a glass of water and grabbed two knives before returning to the couple's bedroom and concealing the knives under her side of the bed.
After her husband had fallen asleep, police said, she grabbed a knife and stabbed him in the neck. When he awoke, the two struggled, and the victim collapsed on the bed after saying "I'm dying, I'm dying," police said. Garcia-Pellon then allegedly changed her clothing and left the home.
White remains Penn's all-time leader in field goal percentage for players with a minimum of 200 made baskets, shooting 59.1 percent from 1977-1979.
"We are greatly saddened to hear about the death of Matt White, and shocked by the details emerging about his death," Penn athletic director Steve Bilsky said in a statement. "For Penn fans, Matt is a reminder of some of the greatest days of our historic men's basketball program, the 1979 run to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, and he was a beloved member of the Penn men's basketball family right up until his death."
Bob Weinhauer, White's coach on the 1979 Penn team, said in a statement that his thoughts and prayers go out to White's two children. He said White continued to stay connected with Penn, even as he was recovering from a stroke.
"It was an honor to have been his coach at Penn and to see him develop into a great defensive player and an important member of the 1979 Final Four team," Weinhauer said. "Obviously this is a very difficult time for all who knew Matt, but I prefer to remember his playing the piano in hotels we stayed in on the road or assisting me in coaching the alumni game last year at Penn ... Matt will always be remembered as a true supporter of Penn Athletics. I am very sad that he has left us so soon."