27. January 2021
Chad Wheeler, a former member of the Seattle Seahawks, was formally charged Wednesday after he was arrested on suspicion of criminal wantonness (domestic violence).
The King County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges of first-degree assault for domestic violence, unlawful confinement for domestic violence and resisting arrest for Wheeler, a spokesman for the office told ESPN. He has been accused of strangling his girlfriend twice before she passed out.
Prosecutors have asked Mr. Wheeler to place him under electronic house arrest and have his ankle fitted with a GPS monitoring system.
Wheeler was due Feb. 9, but a spokesman for the King County prosecutor’s office said Thursday that the arraignment had been postponed until Monday (Feb. 1). At this point, we’re still waiting for him to plead guilty.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Seahawks announced that 27-year-old Wheeler will no longer be a part of the team.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Wheeler wrote that the events took place over the weekend, which is due to a manic episode. I deeply regret the pain and suffering I have caused [this woman] and her family. I sincerely apologize for the confusion I have caused my family, teammates, fans and loved ones. The important thing now is that [the woman] gets the help she needs, and I get that. They both do.
It’s time to give up football and seek the help I need so I can never be a threat to others again. I cannot express my grief and remorse enough. This is really embarrassing.
On Wednesday, the Seahawks issued a statement that included: The Seahawks regret the details that have surfaced about Chad Wheeler and strongly condemn this act of domestic violence. Our thoughts and support go out to the victim. Chad is a free agent and no longer part of the team.
The team gave up on Wheeler on Wednesday, according to NFL trades.
Mr Wheeler was arrested late on Friday night after an alleged assault at a suburban apartment in Seattle, Kent, where he and the woman had been living together since November.
According to the incident report and indictment documents that ESPN obtained, the woman called 911 from a locked bathroom and reported that she had been murdered. She told Kent police she ran to the bathroom after Wheeler threw her on the bed and strangled her until she was unconscious. At one point, she says, he took one hand, shoved it down her throat and pressed it against her nose and mouth in an attempt to stop her breathing, and proceeded to strangle her with the other hand.
The woman briefly regained consciousness before Wheeler restrained and choked her until she lost consciousness, according to the indictment. The woman recalls trying to flee Wheeler, but Wheeler violently grabbed her left arm and pulled her body toward him.
The indictment shows that when the woman regained consciousness a second time, Mr. Wheeler quietly returned to the room and expressed his surprise by telling her : Oh, you’re alive. She ran to the bathroom, locked it and texted her friends and family – and Wheeler’s father – to call 911. She said she heard Wheeler say to someone on the phone, she thought it was her dad, that he was just chilling. As the woman tried to escape through the second door of the bathroom, Mrs. Wheeler entered and began apologizing profusely, she says.
According to the report, police heard the woman screaming from the apartment. They went into the neighborhood, then to the locked bathroom, where Wheeler stood behind the woman. The report states that she was crying in pain, her face was covered in blood and her left arm was swollen and resting gently on her body. According to the report, she also had visible fingerprints on both sides of her neck.
One of the officers asked the woman if she thought she was going to die, and she said: I thought you already had.
The indictment shows that the 6-foot-2 Wheeler ignored the officers’ commands and on at least one occasion the taser was applied directly to his body, with little effect. As three officers tried to restrain him, Wheeler repeatedly screamed: I’m sorry. And I said I don’t hit women! He called the woman he loved. According to the report, Mr. Wheeler refused to talk to officials.
A woman was taken to the hospital because of pain in her left arm. Scans showed a fractured humerus and a dislocated elbow in his arm, according to prosecution documents, which noted that the whites of his eyes, which were almost completely red, matched signs of strangulation. According to the documents, a CT scan of the woman’s chest showed that she had aspirated fluid and vomited large amounts of blood the next day. She also reported sore throat, difficulty swallowing and eating, headache and neck pain, indicating possible internal damage to the neck structures.
The woman told police that Mr. Wheeler, with whom she had been dating for about six months, suffers from bipolar disorder and had recently stopped taking his medication. She said Wheeler had a manic attack that was not triggered by an argument, but began when he suddenly stumbled into a dark room and told her to get up and worship him. He grabbed her by the neck and threw her on the bed when she refused, the woman said.
We encourage Chad to get the help he needs, the Seahawks said in their statement, which also urged anyone dealing with domestic violence or mental illness to seek help.
Wheeler was incarcerated in the King County Jail early Saturday morning and released Tuesday morning after paying $400,000 bail. The King County DA’s office has ordered Mr. Wheeler to post $500,000 bail. The judge set bail at $400,000. The court ordered Mr. Wheeler to have no contact with the woman and to surrender all his weapons. He appeared in court Monday to determine whether there is sufficient cause to hold him.
Domestic violence in the first degree is a class A felony in Washington, D.C., while unlawful confinement for domestic violence is a class C felony. If convicted, Wheeler could face a prison term of eight to 12 years, according to prosecutors.
An NFL spokesman told ESPN that the case is being looked at by the league’s personal conduct policy. ESPN has contacted Mr. Wheeler’s agent for comment.
Wheeler left USC in 2017 and spent part of his first three seasons with the New York Giants, where he played 19 games for the team. He joined the Seahawks in October 2019 and played five games last season. He would become a restricted free agent before Seattle released him on Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Mr. Wheeler was arrested in December 2015 while at USC and taken to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation after police responded to a call that he was hitting walls and windows while barricaded in an apartment with a 20-year-old girlfriend and her 7-month-old son. According to the report, police overpowered Wheeler by firing multiple bullets.