Ex-NFL player Phillips dead in California prison of suspected suicide
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lawrence Phillips, a former NFL player convicted in a domestic violence case and later charged with murdering a cellmate, was found dead in his California prison cell early on Wednesday of a suspected suicide, officials said.
The 40-year-old Phillips' death came less than five months after he was charged with murder in the April 11, 2015, strangling of his cellmate, a prison spokeswoman said.
The former University of Nebraska star was awaiting trial in that case and faced a possible life sentence if convicted.
He was found unresponsive shortly after midnight at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, a town about 130 miles (210 km) north of Los Angeles, and rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead early on Wednesday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.
Prison officials said they were treating it as a suspected suicide. Citing privacy rules, corrections spokeswoman Dana Simas declined to say how Phillips might have killed himself.
The former running back, who had been held alone in a prison cell since the death of his 37-year-old cellmate, Damion Soward, was sent to prison in 2008 to serve a sentence of more than 31 years, officials said.
He was convicted that year in San Diego County of inflicting great bodily injury in a domestic violence incident, corporal injury, false imprisonment and vehicle theft, prison officials said.
Media reports at the time said the former player had choked his girlfriend, leaving her unconscious. Continued...