Lawrence Phillips Murder Arraignment

Ex-NFL football player Lawrence Phillips is arraigned in Kern County Superior Court for murder, as shown in a file photo.

Henry A. Barrios/ The Californian

Former NFL player Lawrence Phillips hanged himself with a bed sheet and taped a note to his chest that read “Do No Resuscitate,” according to coroner’s office reports that recently became available.

Phillips, 40, was last seen alive at 11:35 p.m. Jan. 12 during a routine security check of his cell at Kern Valley State Prison, where he was held after being charged with murder in the death his cellmate, the reports say.

Phillips was found unresponsive a half hour later during another check when a correctional officer noticed the observation window to his cell was covered with a towel, the reports say. The officer knocked on the door and asked Phillips to remove the towel but received no response.

According to the reports, the officer opened the food slot of the door, reached in and pulled down the towel. He then saw Phillips in a seated position with a bed sheet secured to a television shelf and also tightly around his neck.

The officer radioed for assistance, and staff entered the cell and cut away the sheet, the reports say. Staff began CPR, and Phillips was taken to Delano Regional Medical Center.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 1:26 a.m.

Phillips was serving a sentence of 31 years and four months for separate convictions of running down three teens following a pickup football game in 2005, and choking his girlfriend.

He was charged with first-degree murder in the death of cellmate Damion Dewayne Soward. Prosecutors said Phillips strangled Soward on April 11, 2015. 

Phillips’ suicide came a day after a judge found there was enough evidence to order him to stand trial in Soward’s death.

Phillips played for the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers during a short and troubled pro career. He was a standout college player at Nebraska.

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