SF State hoops star indicted on murder rap


SF State basketball standout Decensae White will enter a Fulton County, Ga. courtroom later this month to face charges for the murder of an Atlanta area rapper.

White was extradited to Georgia last week in connection with the June 7, 2012 slaying of Melvin Vernell III, better known by his rapper alias, Lil Phat.

Vernell was shot in his car outside a Sandy Springs, Ga. hospital where he was visiting his pregnant girlfriend.

Details of White’s alleged involvement with the 19-year-old’s murder have not been released. White was indicted on murder and other charges along with four other people, including alleged Russian mobster Mani Chulpayev, who is accused of ordering the hit against Vernell, according Atlanta’s WSB-TV.

White just completed his senior year at SF State University, where he led the team averaging 12.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He graduated from San Mateo’s Serra High School in 2006 before attending Texas Tech University on a full scholarship.

The 25-year-old played under legendary coach Bobby Knight and lived with 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree as roommates.

After two seasons in Texas, White returned to the Bay Area to play for Santa Clara. But just two months later, he left the program and began a three-year hiatus from basketball.

White moved to Georgia to start a rap career in 2009, NBC Bay Area reported.

This last season, White gave basketball one more shot with SF State’s Gators. During a February interview, White said he returned to the game in hopes of getting his “whole life back together.”

Joe Torrigno, a neighbor of White’s who has known him since he was a child, told CBS-SF he found the charges hard to believe:

“That would be terrible [if he was convicted] because I know he has a young family and a wife, and so I wish him all the best.”

White was arrested on April 24 in Pacifica and was extradited to Atlanta on May 13. White’s next court date is scheduled for May 31.

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