Ex-NFL player Lawrence Phillips, 40, was found dead in his prison cell at the Kern Valley State Prison in California on Wednesday (Jan. 13), USA Today reports. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation suspect that his death is a suicide, according to a statement. prior to his death, Phillips was facing the death penalty in the death of his former cellmate at the same facility.
Phillips’ cellmate, Damion Soward was found dead in their share cell on April 11. A coroner’s report concluded that strangulation was his cause of death. Blood was reportedly found on Phillips’ shirt, pill bottles, a folder and a bag at the scene. On Tuesday (Jan. 12), a Superior Court judge found that there was “sufficient cause to believe” that Phillips was responsible for the killing after charges were filed in September.
The former running back played for the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers. Phillips was jailed in 2008 for a total of 31 years for two separate incident: choking his girlfriend in 2005, and driving his vehicle into three teens in Los Angeles. He was sentenced for inflicting great bodily injury involving domestic violence, corporal injury to a spouse, false imprisonment and vehicle theft, according to ABC7.