Ex-running back Lawrence Phillips charged with killing cellmate

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Former running back Lawrence Phillips has been charged with murder in the death of his cellmate at a 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 said the 40-year-old Phillips faces a first-degree murder charge. He will be arraigned Sept 15 at Kern County Superior Court in Bakersfield, but will not face the death penalty, prosecuting attorney Andrea Bridges told USA Today Sports on Tuesday.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.