The alleged victim of former NFL player Chad Wheeler asked a judge to keep him behind bars Monday, saying that unless Wheeler is in jail, she doesn’t feel safe.
Wheeler—who recently resigned from the Seattle Seahawks—is facing a series of charges after police said he choked his girlfriend unconscious in the couple’s apartment on Jan. 22 after she refused to bow to him.
"I want you to know that I believe that as long as (Wheeler) is not in custody, I am not safe,” the victim said in a statement read in court, according to KOMO News. “Chad never called the police (after the assault) even though he thought I was dead. Now, Chad is out of custody staying in a hotel watching this play out on social media. This current status places my safety at risk, and I do not believe that a protective order or a condition of release is sufficient to keep me safe."
The woman appeared in court with her arm in a sling, but did not address the court directly and had a victim’s advocate read the prepared statement on her behalf.
Wheeler, 27, was released from custody after posting a $400,000 bail shortly after his arrest. King County Superior Court Judge Tanya Thorp ruled Monday to keep the bail at the same amount and ordered that Wheeler be required to stay in the state of Washington with a home monitoring device as a condition of his release, The Seattle Times reports.
Wheeler also entered not guilty pleas at the King County arraignment to the charges against him, which include domestic violence assault, unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest.
Police were dispatched to the apartment of Wheeler's girlfriend on Jan. 22 around 9:45 p.m. after getting a call from her saying she was being “killed,” according to a Kent Police report obtained by Oxygen.com. Her friends and family also called police and reported that she had locked herself in the bathroom.
After arriving at the scene, authorities heard screaming and followed the sound to the bathroom. They broke down the door and discovered Wheeler—who had allegedly picked the lock—and the victim inside. The woman was crying, had “blood all over her face” and had her arm hanging limply at her side, according to the reports. Officers also found “heavy blood stains” on the comforter of the bed.
When one officer asked her if she had thought she was going to die, she responded “I thought I already had.”
She later told police at a local hospital that Wheeler had gotten upset after she had refused to bow to him and grabbed her neck and threw her onto the bed, the report said.
She told officers that Wheeler had used both hands to choke her “for some time” before he removed one of his hands and smashed it into her nose and mouth “to stop her from breathing,” the report said.
She regained consciousness some time later, and saw Wheeler standing near the bed. He seemed surprised she was conscious and said “Wow you’re alive?,” the victim told authorities.
The woman ran into the bathroom and locked herself inside, where police would discover her a short time later. Wheeler initially didn’t chase her and went back to the living room where he was either eating or drinking a smoothie before he picked the lock and got into the bathroom, according to the report.
After breaking into the bathroom, police found Wheeler holding his girlfriend around the chest, eventually letting her go when police swarmed in, the reports said.
But taking him down wouldn’t be easy and officers described a chaotic scene as they tried to subdue Wheeler, who weighs an approximate 310 pounds and stands at 6’7”, within the small confines of the bathroom.
One officer described using a Taser with “little to no effect” and others described a hectic wrestling match of sorts.
It eventually took three officers to subdue the offensive lineman.
“As the three of us (with a combined weight of about 700 pounds) were on top of Chad, I could feel him lifting his body up like he was pushing up to get away,” one officer wrote in the reports. “Chad, who's massive size took up the whole length and width of the bathroom floor was able to lift his body about three to six inches temporarily with what appeared to [be] little effort from him. Chad was continually tensing up and not complying with verbal commands.”
Wheeler, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, allegedly yelled that he was “sorry” and said “I don’t beat women!” while police were attempting to subdue him, authorities said.
They were eventually able to control him enough to put on double cuffs as one officer grabbed his lower legs, one was on his lower back and the third officer controlled his head, according to the reports.
In a series of messages on Twitter, Wheeler later alluded to the incident, describing it as a “manic episode.”
“I apologize profusely for the turmoil that I have caused to my family, teammates, fans and those closest to me,” he wrote. “The most important thing right now is that (the victim) gets the care she needs and I get help. Both are happening.”
He went on to say that he planned to “walk away from football and get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another.”
His next court date is scheduled for Feb. 11.
If convicted of the charges against him, he could face up to 12 years in prison, according to KOMO News.
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