Ex-49ers running back Lawrence Phillips charged with killing cellmate

FILE - In this July 26, 1999, file photo, newly-signed San Francisco 49ers running back Lawrence Phillips, center, smiles with 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci, left, and general manager Bill Walsh during a news conference at training camp in Stockton, Calif. Phillips has been charged with murder in the death of his cellmate at a Central California prison. Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He played for the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers during a three-year NFL career. Phillips is serving a sentence of more than 31 years. He was convicted of choking his girlfriend and later of driving his car into three teens after a pickup football game.(AP Photo/Brian Baer, File)

BAKERSFIELD (KRON) — Former San Francisco 49ers running back Lawrence Phillips is accused of killing his cellmate at a Bakersfield prison.

Phillips is suspected of killing 37-year-old Damion Soward at Kern Valley State Prison in April. Officials determined Soward was strangled.

The Kern County district attorney’s office says the 40-year-old Phillips faces a first-degree murder charge.

The troubled running back was once one of the nation’s top college football players at Nebraska. He played for the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers during a three-year NFL career ladened with several off field incidences.

Phillips is serving a sentence of more than 31 years. He was convicted of choking his girlfriend and later of driving his car into three teens after a pickup football game.

KBAK-TV reports Phillips was ordered back to court Sept. 15.

Copyright 2015 KRON. All rights reserved.

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