Phillips faces up to 25 years in prison

Updated: August 12, 2009, 11:41 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN DIEGO -- Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips was convicted of assault and other felony charges Tuesday in San Diego.

Lawrence Phillips

Phillips

A Superior Court jury took less than a day to find Phillips guilty of seven counts, including assault with great bodily injury; false imprisonment; making a criminal threat; and auto theft. He had been accused of choking his girlfriend on two occasions in August 2005, once into unconsciousness.

He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 8. Phillips already is serving a 10-year sentence for hitting three teenagers with his car in August 2005, when he drove onto a field in Los Angeles.

Phillips has refused to attend his own trial, and was not in the courtroom when the verdicts were read Tuesday.

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Cooper told the San Diego Union-Tribune the girlfriend testified she and Phillips had argued on Aug. 2, 2005, and he started choking her after she began tossing his clothes to the floor.

"He'd never been like that before," the girlfriend testified, according to KGTV in San Diego. "He was always a sweetheart."

In the second incident, on Aug. 13, Phillips accused the girlfriend of cheating on him, according to the Union-Tribune. He knocked her backward into a bathtub, then drove with her to find the man with whom he believed she was cheating, the newspaper reported.

KGTV reported on its Web site that the girlfriend testified she and Phillips are still in a relationship.

Phillips, 34, was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. The St. Louis Rams released him for insubordination in 1997.

He went on to play for the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, and spent time in NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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