Autopsy Reveals Lawrence Phillips Hanged himself with Bed Sheet


Lawrence Phillips hanged himself with a bed sheet in his prison cell, according to a copy of an autopsy and coroner’s report that says that when correctional officers found him unresponsive Jan. 13 at Kern Valley (Calif.) State Prison, a note taped to his chest read, “Do Not Resuscitate.’’

Phillips, the former football star, was scheduled to begin trial on murder charges in the death of a cell mate and was serving a 24-year sentence for other offenses when he was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital in Bakersfield, Calif., less than two hours later.

A toxicology report found no illegal drugs or psychiatric medication in Phillips at the time of his death.

The final coroner’s report — that includes the toxicology report and autopsy report and was obtained by USA TODAY Sports — states Phillips died of asphyxia due to hanging in what was ruled a suicide and revealed the following:

  • A bed sheet had been ripped in half, knotted and tied around Phillips’ neck. He was found hanging from a five-foot high, metal television shelf.
  • The forensic pathologist who conducted the coroner’s report found in Phillips’ left sock a photo of Phillips and an unidentified child and a note. The report provided no details about the note.
  • The note on Phillips’ chest that read “Do not Resuscitate’’ was written on a small piece of paper torn in half.

At the time of Phillips’ death, he was being housed alone in an administratively segregated unit because he was a suspect in the death of another inmate.

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Source: USA Today | Josh Peter