Lawrence Phillips Prime Suspect In Murder Of Cellmate

Lawrence Phillips Prime Suspect In Murder Of Cellmate

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  • Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips is the prime suspect in the April 2015 murder of his cellmate.

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips is the prime suspect in the murder of his cellmate.

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips is the prime suspect in the murder of his cellmate. 

According to the official blog of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the 39-year-old Phillips being suspected of murdering his 37-year-old cellmate, Damion Soward. Authorities discovered the unresponsive body of Soward at 12:46 a.m. on Saturday, April 11. 

They took Soward to a nearby hospital but he was pronounced dead a day later at 5:30 a.m. CDCR has since reached out to his relatives to notify them of his passing, per its official blog site. 

CDCR received Phillips from San Diego County on Oct. 16, 2008 to serve a 31-year and four-month sentence. Its blog site states he was imprisoned for “inflicting great bodily injury involving domestic violence, corporal injury to a spouse, false imprisonment and vehicle theft.” 

On the other hand, Soward began his 82-year prison sentence for first-degree murder on March 12, 2009, per CDCR’s official blog site.

Deadspin’s Kevin Draper labels Phillips as “a terrible human being.”

Draper recounts the string of offenses the former running back committed. First, he explains why Phillips wound up getting incarcerated. He was involved in a “month-long crime spree” in Aug. 2005 which began when he assaulted his girlfriend, who later testified she ended up unconscious. 

Phillips did a virtual repeat of the first incident two weeks later. Draper says he slapped, choked and threw her into a bathtub. After Phillips was charged, he then plowed a stolen car into three teenagers after a heated argument during a scrimmage football game. 

The Deadspin update states Phillips had been taken into police custody for several other incidents related to assault and domestic violence:

“He was arrested three times before being released by the Rams, he was released by the Dolphins after he assaulted a woman in a nightclub, and he was charged with sexual assault while playing in the CFL.

“Most prominently, he was arrested in 1995 while at Nebraska for dragging his girlfriend down a flight of stairs by her hair. Somehow, then-Nebraska (Cornhuskers) head coach Tom Osbourne didn’t deem it an offense bad enough to kick Phillips off the team.”

An April 13 NBC San Diego update states it remains unclear if Phillips has a lawyer for the murder of Soward. 

Phillips entered the NFL ranks in 1996 regarded as one of that draft class’ best running backs. The St. Louis Rams selected him with the sixth overall pick that year. They even dealt future Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis to the Pittsburgh Steelers believing Phillips was better, per NBC San Diego.

Phillips suited up in just 25 games for the Rams while scoring 12 touchdowns. On the other hand, Bettis recorded six straight 1,000-yard seasons in Pittsburgh. Phillips NFL career ended with short stints with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, the NBC San Diego update goes on to say.

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