Under Pennsylvania law, White's sentence is automatically appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
After the verdict, Sabrina Taylor, the victim's mother, walked forward and embraced Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax.
"People are just fed up, Sabrina," Sax said.
"Thank you so much," Taylor replied.
She had said she did not want a death sentence because there was "too much death" in Philadelphia. Afterward, Taylor said she was at peace with the sentence: "Justice was served, and nobody wins."
For White, of South Philadelphia, the verdict and sentence mean he will be taken to one of the state's "death rows" in four prisons. He will be in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, with an hour for exercise.
Taylor, the father of six children, was a basketball star in the mid-1990s when he set a career scoring record as a guard for Audenried High School.
Later, he became a popular basketball coach at Kingsessing Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia.
Sax said the path to Taylor's 2010 death began with a Jan. 20, 2006, attack on Allen Moment Jr., 24, who was shot 14 to 16 times outside his house in the 2200 block of Pierce Street.
Moment lingered 21/2 years before dying of an infection, but in February 2008, knowing he was dying, he gave police a statement in which he identified his shooters: cousin Marvin Flamer, now 37; Flamer's nephew Nafeas Flamer, 23; and Nafeas' friend Hakim Bond, 23.
Moment said that the shooting was the result of an intra-family squabble and that he was ambushed by the three men.
All three are awaiting trial because of a series of appeals, Sax said.
After Moment's death, Sax said, Taylor came forward. Although he arrived on the scene when Moment's bullet-riddled body was found, he did not see the shooting. But through his work with neighborhood teens, Sax said, Taylor learned enough to make him a key witness against the three suspects.
In 2010, the case against the Flamers and Bond was moving toward trial, and it became known that Taylor would be a witness. On May 6, 2010, Taylor's mother asked him to go to a corner store. Returning, Taylor was shot once in the head in front of his house at 23d and Ellsworth Streets.
"He was someone who had the courage to step forward and he was executed for his courage," Sax said.
White was linked to the killing through DNA on a holster and clothing left behind. Under questioning by defense attorney James S. Bruno he told the jury that he shot Taylor and used a gun because he feared Taylor was a better fighter.
White's death sentence was the first by a Philadelphia jury since April 21, 2010, when a jury condemned Laquaille Bryant, now 30, for the 2008 contract killings of protected witness Chante Wright, 23, and Octavia Green, 23, Wright's friend who had happened to be present.
According to state prison records, 206 persons - 202 men and four women - await execution. Just three people have been executed since Pennsylvania reenacted capital punishment in 1978 - two in 1995, the last in 1999 - and only because all three ended appeals and asked for death.
Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @joeslobo.