Lawrence Phillips's death Wednesday is being investigated as a possible suicide, although his family isn't trying to hear that.
The former NFL running back's mother and those closest to him don't think he killed himself.
In fact, Tonissa Murdock, who is listed as Phillips's next of kin with the Kern Valley State Prison in California, where the 40-year-old was found unresponsive Wednesday, told TMZ Sports: "I know for a fact he wouldn't do that."
"I know him well enough to know he wouldn’t commit suicide," Murdock continued. "I asked the coroner for information about his body and she was very unhelpful."
Murdock says that Phillips was too busy with trying to clear his name over the April 2015 murder accusation of his fellow cell mate to ever contemplate suicide.
"He knew that he was innocent about his cell mate," Murdock said. "He faced adversity his whole life and during all those times he said suicide was never an option."
That being said, Phillips's death Wednesday came one day after a Superior Court judge found that there was "sufficient cause to believe" that the ex-NFL rusher murdered his former cell mate at Kern Valley State Prison last April.
In a March 2015 letter that hit the Internet, Phillips warned: "I feel my anger is near bursting and that will result in my death or the death of someone else."
In the midst of serving a 31-year prison sentence for assaulting an ex-girlfriend and driving his vehicle into three teenagers, Phillips could have gotten life in prison for being found guilty of murdering his cell mate.
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(Photo: Eliot J. Schechter / Stringer)
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