Lawrence Phillips Mom Doesn’t Think he C omitted Suicide

Lawrence Phillips former NFL Star

Lawrence Phillips biological mother, Tonissa Murdock do not believe the former NFL star committed suicide in his prison cell.

Phillips, a star running back at Nebraska and first-round NFL draft pick whose pro career quickly unraveled amid disciplinary problems, was found unresponsive in his California prison cell on Wednesday, and officials said they suspect suicide.

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He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton.

Phillips, had been housed alone in a segregation cell since April 2015 after he was suspected of killing his cellmate. A Kern County judge had ruled on Tuesday that there was enough evidence to try Phillips in the death of Damion Soward, 37, the cousin of former University of Southern California and NFL wide receiver R. Jay Soward.

Soward, Phillips’ former cellmate, was found unresponsive April 11 in the cell the men shared and died as a result of strangulation, according to a coroner’s report. What was believed to be blood was found on Soward, Phillips’ white T-shirt and on several items, including the two T-shirts, pill bottles, a folder and a bag, according to the incident report.

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Phillips, 40, was facing the possible death penalty in the alleged murder of his former cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison.

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Lawrence Phillips College and Professional Career

Nebraska recruited Phillips out of a West Covina, California, group home, and he was a key member of the Cornhuskers’ national championship teams in 1994 and 1995. He ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns in a Fiesta Bowl win over Florida that clinched the national championship, then declared he would enter the 1996 NFL draft as an underclassman.

He was drafted No. 6 overall by the St. Louis Rams in 1996, but he was released the next year for insubordination. He also played for the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers but was out of the NFL by 2000.

Lawrence Phillips Legal

On August 21, 2005, Phillips was arrested for assault after allegedly driving a car into three teenagers, following a dispute with the teens during a pick-up football game in Los Angeles, California. At the time of the arrest, Phillips was also wanted by the San Diego Police Department in connection with two alleged domestic-abuse incidents involving a former girlfriend, who claimed that Phillips had choked her to the point of unconsciousness. In addition, the Los Angeles Police Department was seeking Phillips in connection with another allegation of domestic abuse that had occurred in Los Angeles. In March 2006, Phillips was ordered to stand trial on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon stemming from the August 21, 2005, incident. On October 10, 2006, he was found guilty of seven counts. On October 3, 2008, he was sentenced to 10 years in a California state prison.

While serving that sentence, Philips was convicted in August 2009 for the assault on his former girlfriend Amaliya Weisler on seven counts, including assault with great bodily injury, false imprisonment, making a criminal threat, and auto theft. On December 18, 2009, Phillips was sentenced to 25 years in prison on the 2009 convictions, to run consecutive to the 2008 sentence (which was reduced to just under 7 years), for a term of 32 years.

Phillips was admitted to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on October 16, 2008 and was incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison. Under California law, since his crimes harmed other persons, Phillips was required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for time off.

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