The wife of Matthew White, who played basketball for the University of Pennsylvania on its 1979 Final Four team, waived a preliminary hearing in the case in which she is charged with stabbing him to death as he slept.
Maria Garcia-Pellon, 52, appeared this morning wearing shackles and a red jumpsuit in a county district court in Media, Pennsylvania. Flanked by two attorneys and a prison guard, she answered yes to a series of questions from the judge about the waiver.
“I find the defendant’s waiver is knowing, intelligent and voluntary,” Magisterial District Judge Stephanie Klein said during the brief appearance.
Garcia-Pellon, was charged this month with first-degree murder and criminal homicide after prosecutors said she stabbed White in the neck after midnight on Feb. 11 in the home she shared with him in Nether Providence Township, about 20 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Garcia-Pellon told police she stabbed White after she caught him looking at pornography.
White played center on the Penn team that made it to the semifinals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball championship in 1979. He played at Penn from 1976 to 1979 and was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the fifth round of the 1979 National Basketball Association draft. He played professional basketball in Spain for 12 seasons. He later worked as a technical writer for a software company.
Garcia-Pellon underwent a psychiatric evaluation before today’s hearing and her attorneys were satisfied with the results, Klein said.
“I’m satisfied that Maria understands the nature of the charges against her,” Kathryn Labrum, an attorney for Garcia-Pellon with the law firm Donaghue & Labrum LLP in Media, told Klein.
About a dozen supporters, all women, turned out for today’s hearing, many shouting “we’re praying for you,” to Garcia-Pellon as she exited the courtroom. The women declined to comment on the case or their relationship to Garcia-Pellon.
Prosecutors are scheduled to outline the case against Garcia-Pellon at an arraignment on March 28, Labrum said after the hearing. Garcia-Pellon is being held in Delaware County jail without bail. A memorial service for White will be held March 4 in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
The case is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Garcia-Pellon, CP-23-MD-0000353-2013, Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County (Media)