Lawerence Phillips smiles as the crowd in the stands at Pro Player Stadium calls out to him as he takes the field for the first time in a Miami Dolphins uniform Sunday Dec. 7, 1997 in Miami before a game against the Detroit Lions. Phillips signed with the
Joe Cavaretta
September 02, 2015

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has been charged with murder in the death of his cellmate at a Central California 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.

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.

KBAK-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1hy0OZG ) Phillips was ordered back to court Sept. 15.

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Information from: KBAK-TV, http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/

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