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Former Football Star Lawrence Phillips Found Dead In Prison

Phillips had been charged with killing his cellmate after going to prison for assault-related crimes.

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Phillips in 1996 with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Mike Powell / Getty Images

Phillips in 1996 with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Former football star Lawrence Phillips died of a suspected suicide in his prison cell, California prison officials said Wednesday.

Phillips, 40, was found dead Wednesday during a routine security check just after midnight, according to the California Department of Corrections.

Phillips was a former running back who won two national championships with the Nebraska Cornhuskers and was a first-round pick in the 1996 NFL draft. During his time with Nebraska, Phillips was arrested multiple times for assault, including of his ex-girlfriend, basketball player Kate McEwen.

After a short career in the NFL and Canadian Football League, Phillips was sentenced to 31 years in prison for combined convictions of "inflicting great bodily injury involving domestic violence, corporal injury to a spouse, false imprisonment and vehicle theft."

In April 2015, Phillips was accused of murdering his cellmate, and faced the death penalty. He was officially charged on Sept. 1.

According to the California Department of Corrections, Phillips had been in an "Administrative Segregation Unit" on single-cell status since April 11, 2013, after he was suspected of killing his cellmate.

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