Former 49ers Lawrence Phillips Suspected of Killing Cellmate in Kern Valley State Prison

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Lawrence Phillips #33 of the San Francisco 49ers carries the ball during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the 49ers 41-3. (Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport)

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Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips is suspected of killing his cellmate at a California state prison where he is serving a 31-year sentence, officials said Monday.

Phillips, 39, is accused of killing 37-year-old Damion Soward, who was found unresponsive in his cell in Kern Valley State Prison about 12:46 a.m. Saturday, said Lt. Marshall Denning of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Phillips is currently serving a sentence after he was convicted of domestic violence, false imprisonment and vehicle theft. Soward was serving 82-years-to-life in prison after being convicted of murder.

Phillips was a football standout at the University of Nebraska who helped the Cornhuskers win two national championships, but he was cut from several NFL and Canadian football league teams for a range of disciplinary problems.

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