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Lawrence Phillips: Imprisoned NFL Player Charged With Murdering Cellmate

Thu, September 3, 2015 10:33am EDT by 1 Comment
Lawrence Phillips Murder
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Things are going from bad to worse for Lawrence Phillips. The former NFL player is already doing time in prison, and has now been charged for allegedly murdering his cellmate. Yikes!

Lawrence Phillips’ prison time may soon be lengthened. The one-time St. Louis Rams running back is already serving a 31 year sentence in a California jail cell, but now, he’s added a murder charge to his list of offenses, and if found guilty, he could face many, many more years behind bars.

The 40-year-old has been charged with first degree murder in the death of his cellmate, Damion Soward, 37, who died of strangulation in April in the Kern Valley State Prison. He is expected back in court on Sept. 15.

Lawrence was a top college football player at the University of Nebraska, even helping lead the team to a National Championship. He was drafted sixth overall in the 1996 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams, but was released from the team after just one season. He briefly played with the Miami Dolphins in 1997 and the San Francisco 49ers in 1999, but was let go from both teams quickly for his inability to stay out of trouble and inconsistency on the field.

Trouble continued to follow Lawrence after his football career was over. He was arrested in 2005 after allegedly driving a car into three teenagers. At the time, he was also wanted by San Diego police for multiple domestic-abuse incidents, with a former girlfriend claiming he had choked her to the point of unconsciousness. He was sentenced to ten years in prison (eventually reduced to 7) on the felony assault charges for the car in 2008, and 25 years were added to his sentence in 2009 for the domestic assault charges.

Damion was found dead by choking in the pair’s cell on April 12, 2015, and Lawrence was immediately regarded as the primary suspect. The official murder charge was brought on Sept. 1.

— Alyssa Norwin