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California

Ex-Rams running back Lawrence Phillips dead after likely prison suicide

Lawrence Phillips

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips in court in Los Angeles in 2005. Phillips died Wednesday after a suspected suicide attempt  in his prison cell in Kern County.

(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Former Rams running back Lawrence Phillips died early Wednesday in what California prison officials deemed a likely suicide.

Phillips, 40, was found unconscious just after midnight during a security check by staff at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano outside Bakersfield, the state corrections department said in a statement. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead more than an hour later.

Phillips had been held in the prison’s administrative segregation unit since April.

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Last year, Phillips allegedly killed his cellmate at Kern Valley. His trial in that killing was in its early stages in Kern County, officials said.

Phillips was serving a 31-year sentence after he was convicted of domestic violence, false imprisonment and vehicle theft. 

Phillips was a 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.

He played with the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, among other teams.

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He was arrested at least five times on suspicion of assaulting women, and he was convicted in 2006 of driving a Honda Accord onto a field near the Los Angeles Coliseum and striking three teenagers.

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