Former NFL running back Phillips found dead in California prison


Former St. Louis Rams running back Lawrence Phillips has been found dead in a California prison in what is being treated as a suspected suicide.

Phillips was found in his cell at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed Taylor's death was a suspected suicide in a press release.

Phillips was found unresponsive in his cell at 00:05 (local time) on Wednesday as the prison staff were conducting security checks. He was transported to an outside hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:27. 

The 40-year-old was facing a possible death penalty in the alleged murder of his former cell mate at Kern Valley.

A first-round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft by the Rams, Phillips played three seasons in the league before off-field incidents and legal problems ended his NFL career. He also played in NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League.

He was serving a 31-year sentence at Kern Valley for assaulting a former girlfriend and driving his car into three teenagers.

Phillips pleaded not guilty to two first-degree murder charges following the death of then-cell mate Damion Soward.