Thursday, January 14, 2016

Justice for Lawrence Phillips? Cut-Throat is Found Dead in His Prison Cell; Lifelong Criminal was Once Nation’s Top College Football Player, but He Had More Courage for Choking and Beating Girls, and Murdering a Cellmate, than for Giving and Taking Licks on the NFL Gridiron


Damion Soward, one of Lawrence Phillips’ many victims. Phillips strangled Soward, 37, last April 11. How do I know it was Phillips? Because the cell in which Soward’s corpse was found, contained only him and Phillips. (Soward was himself a convicted murderer, not that there's... oh, never mind.)

University of Nebraska girlfriend Kate McEwen was one of Lawrence Phillips’ many victims. He choked her, and dragged her down three flights of stairs by her hair. 

[Previously, on Lawrence Phillips, at WEJB/NSU: Lawrence Phillips Finally Finds the Fame that Eluded Him in the NFL: He Has Just been Charged with Having Murdered His Cellmate, Who was Found Strangled to Death… in April?]

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

When Lawrence Phillips was charged with murder last September for the strangulation of his cellmate the previous April, my friend and partner-in-crime, David in TN asked,

After Phillips is convicted of murdering his cellmate, who's going to be his next cellmate?
Well, now the question is moot, as Phillips has been found dead in his cell.

Over at the Lincoln Journal Star, the hometown paper of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, where the future murderer enjoyed his glory days, operative Brian Christopherson threw a pity party.
Even with all his troubles, the entire life story of Phillips is one that emits the emotion of sadness more than anything. That's certainly what Tom Osborne, Nebraska's former coach who won two national championships while Phillips was in Lincoln, felt when he heard the news.

At a young age, people hurt Phillips. Then he hurt others. Along the way, greatness was teased but ultimately wasted.
Anything that Lawrence Phillips endured as a child, others endured worse, without becoming murderers. But Phillips was black and an athlete, and so all must be forgiven.

It is impossible to reckon how many people Phillips victimized in his 40 years on earth. His juvenile records are sealed, thus taking possibly hundreds of victims off the table. As an adult offender, he would commit all manner of felonies that, thanks to criminal justice affirmative action, would be prosecuted as misdemeanors or not at all. For instance, while at Nebraska, he broke into the apartment of one of his girlfriends, choked her, and dragged her down three flights of stairs by her hair. But instead of being charged and convicted of felony home invasion, felony aggravated assault, and several years in prison, all he got was a piddling misdemeanor assault conviction. And when he violated his probation, he got … nothing. And why was he never expelled from Nebraska? A black man expelled from a university? A black man who was a world-class athlete?

Even more striking is how little we know about Phillips’ criminal history. That’s because much of the time, he faced no prosecution or punishment for his crimes. Without digging, we don’t even know much about the crimes for which he was prosecuted. Consider the brutal assault on University of Nebraska girlfriend Kate McEwen I cited above. Reports now refer to the victim as an “ex-girlfriend,” but due to the poor writing habits of contemporary reporters, we don’t know what that means. They will use the same term, e.g., “ex-girlfriend,” to refer to someone who had broken up with a perp prior to his crime, and to someone who was still with him at the time of his crime.

“Reporters” and jock-sniffers alike want the public to know as little about Lawrence Phillips’ life of crime, and as much about his gridiron exploits, as possible.


Lawrence Phillips’ 2009 mug shot

Lawrence Phillips found dead in prison; Osborne greatly saddened
By Brian Christopherson
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Lincoln Journal Star

Lawrence Phillips, the former Husker running back whose off-field demons got in the way of transcendent on-field talent, was found dead early in the wee hours of Wednesday morning in his cell at the Kern Valley State Prison.

California prison officials deemed the matter a suspected suicide. A press release stated the incident occurred at 12:05 a.m., when staff conducting security checks found Phillips unresponsive in his cell. He was transported to an outside hospital and pronounced dead at 1:27 a.m.

Phillips was 40 years old.

Even with all his troubles, the entire life story of Phillips is one that emits the emotion of sadness more than anything. That's certainly what Tom Osborne, Nebraska's former coach who won two national championships while Phillips was in Lincoln, felt when he heard the news.

At a young age, people hurt Phillips. Then he hurt others. Along the way, greatness was teased but ultimately wasted.

"I saw the potential," Osborne told the Journal Star on Wednesday. "I knew this was a guy that could have lived a productive life with the right set of circumstances. For whatever reason it just didn’t happen. Lawrence obviously had some demons that were never completely put to rest.

[Black psychopaths are always full of “potential.” You rarely hear people talk like that about white psychopaths, but they always seem to wax poetic about the “potential” of black ones.]

"And I think the general public will always perceive Lawrence as a troubled and a bad person. And there were some things he did that were bad. But they were other qualities that the public didn’t see that were what we would generally call good qualities. He was very loyal to his friends and he had a code of honor a little bit different than most people. He was not a guy that would be easily led or influenced because of his code."

It is impossible now for most to separate the football from his flaws, but on the field his combination of power, speed and elusiveness made him the best running back Nebraska ever had, says former Husker secondary coach George Darlington, who recruited Phillips.

Darlington recalls 20 years ago when Nick Saban, who had seen Phillips run wild over his Michigan State team in a 50-10 Husker win, said he was one of the best two running backs he'd ever seen. The other was Eric Dickerson. "Some people would say Nick Saban knows something about football," Darlington said.

He ran for 1,722 yards as a sophomore during Nebraska's 1994 national championship season. He carried the ball 31 times in a 17-6 win over Kansas State with just one good arm on a gray day in Manhattan [Kansas].

Yet it's the off-field problems people will remember [sic] for just as much as what he did on a field.

"If you trace everything back to the problems he had were relationships with the opposite sex," Darlington said. "Some people would tie that back to how his mother responded to him in junior high or whatever. But the point is he never handled that well."

[What unmitigated bull. Phillips didn’t have problems “with the opposite sex,” the opposite sex had problems with him.]

Phillips was facing murder charges for the death of a fellow inmate, Daimion Soward, a gang member serving an 82-year sentence. Phillips appeared to have a strong argument for himself, given that Soward was involved in 12 incidents involving weapons or violence while incarcerated dating back to 2004, according to records USA TODAY obtained.

[If a white ever used such an argument to justify killing a black, Brian Christopherson would scream “racism!” from the rooftops. In fact, he doesn’t even cite any argument that Phillips made, to justify killing Soward, he just made one up out of whole cloth, like a defense attorney, rather than a journalist.]

According to custody records, Soward was accused of hiding razor blades in a Bible, soap and his pubic hair and also once attacked an inmate with a razor-edged weapon.

Osborne did not communicate weekly with Phillips, but every two to three months when there was time, he'd write him a letter.

One message Phillips made clear in his return responses to Osborne was the idea that "people were trying to break him."

Osborne didn't know what all that meant, but he did know Phillips had a strong distaste for gangs, and how they worked within the prison system.

“He would never do that," Osborne said. "He would never submit to that kind of a standard. So he was a person that had some pride. He did have a certain set of standards that he lived by. They may have been somewhat distorted but at least he had some principles."

The last time Osborne saw Phillips in person was five years ago. Osborne was Nebraska's athletic director. The Huskers were playing in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Osborne visited the prison to see his former player.

Whenever they communicated, Phillips always seemed fairly upbeat.

"I didn’t see anything like this happening so I feel really bad about it," Osborne said. "Because there’s a guy with a lot of athletic ability, and intellectual capacity."

Former Nebraska secondary coach George Darlington, a lead recruiter of Phillips who exchanged letters with him routinely and even as recently as the last two weeks, also never got a "any indication of woe is me" from Phillips. Darlington always told him people back in Nebraska were praying for him and cared about him. Phillips expressed thanks for that.

But, as reported by The Bakersfield Californian, there was a hearing on Tuesday in which a Kern County Judge found enough evidence to hold Phillips for trial on the charge of first-degree murder after prosecutors argued he strangled his roommate in April while he was sleeping.

One can do nothing but assume now, "but possibly the preliminary hearing had something to do with his mental state," Darlington said.

He was also a man with significant enough flaws to make himself a national story.

[Pathetic race-baiting. It was his athletic talent that made him a national story, not his “flaws.” Otherwise, tens of thousands of blacks would be “national stories.”]

In any event, it was another sad incident for Phillips, who will be remembered as much for off-the-field problems at Nebraska as his overwhelming football talent.

Those who knew Phillips closely will tell you how complicated his life was from childhood.

[Since “complicated” is just a pc euphemism for evil, that sentence didn’t add a thing.

Did Brian Christopherson express compassion somewhere in this story for Phillips’ victims, and I missed it?]


Anonymous said...

Too bad he didn t kill himself 20 years ago.RIH (rest in hell).

Anonymous said...

Osborne is a fool. Nothing more to say.

Anonymous said...

Just a plain old ordinary bad guy was accustomed to doing whatever he wanted and got away with it over and over. NOW he is dead maybe those records can be unsealed? They ought to be for posterity sake.

Anonymous said...

Big strapping brute of a man. A bully too. Liked to abuse women and use his brutish size to do so. The brute caricature of the male negro is not too far off the mark, if at all.

Anonymous said...

Shaft! "He's a complicated man and no one can understand him but his woman." That is if the woman is able to live that long.

David In TN said...

The Nation and Rolling Stone threw their own pity parties; "society failed the poor guy."

Phillips' bio mother has come out of the woodwork to claim he was "innocent" of the murder charge and was "murdered" himself. She's looking for a big payoff.

Surprise, surprise.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Rolling Stone will build an empowerment center dedicated to "the poor guy."