SF State basketball player Decensae White, who was a standout player this season especially for one well publicized half-court shot, was arrested a month ago and extradited on May 13 to Georgia to face a murder charge, as multiple outlets discovered late last week. White, along with four other men, is accused in the June 2012 killing of emerging rap artist Lil Phat, a.k.a. Melvin Vernell III, who was gunned down outside a hospital in Atlanta.
Vernell had been sitting in a car on a parking ramp while his girlfriend was about to give birth on June 7, 2012 at Atlanta's Northside Hospital when he was shot multiple times by alleged hired gunmen.
White, 25, took a break from college and basketball in 2009 to pursue his own rap career in Atlanta. He grew up in Pacifica, attended Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, and had been enrolled at Santa Clara University for a couple of months before moving to Georgia. He returned to the Bay Area to enroll at SFSU in the fall of 2012, not long after the alleged murder, and gained nationwide attention back in February because of a video of a shot he sunk from way behind the half-court line to win a game against Cal Poly (see the video below). He was arrested by U.S. Marshals on April 24 and is due in court in Fulton County, Georgia this Friday, May 31.
The story behind the murder apparently involves a sketchy car business that belonged to convicted Russian mobster Mani Chulpayev, who was also arrested in April, in Florida. The victim was allegedly involved in a car deal, and was killed by hired gunmen to silence him, according to Atlanta authorities. Vernell had leased a BMW SUV and the high end Audi he was killed in from Chulpayev, and Chulpayev is said to have located him using the GPS system in the car. Two of the indicted gunmen were from Alabama, and it's unclear what White's role in the crime was, but it's said that all the accused were "business associates" involved with the conspiracy. White, along with Chulpayev, Maurice Conner, DeAndre Washington, and Gary Bradford, stand accused of murder, conspiracy, assault, and gun charges.
White told Chronicle Live in February that "things weren’t going the [he] wanted them to" when he decided to walk away from basketball four years ago and go to Atlanta, but he said, "I’m glad I got back into it. I have a 17-month-old son now and am arranged to get married, things like that. I'm trying to get my life back together."
Below, the footage of the winning shot by White at the February 2013 game against Cal Poly, which went viral after appearing on ESPN's SportCenter.