A former NFL player accused of violently assaulting his girlfriend has entered a plea of not guilty to multiple charges stemming from the alleged assault — and asked the judge to allow him to move to Hawaii.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Chad Wheeler was charged with first-degree domestic violence assault, felony domestic violence-unlawful imprisonment, and resisting arrest after police responded to an apartment in Kent, Washington, last weekend to find a woman beaten and fearful for her life.
The victim, Wheeler’s girlfriend, told police that Wheeler choked and smothered her to the point of unconsciousness, repeatedly, and at one point appeared to be surprised the victim had woken up, allegedly saying, “oh, you’re alive?.” Charging documents show that Wheeler, who weighs 300 pounds, refused to cooperate with responding police officers, ignoring their commands. Police reportedly attempted to subdue him with a Taser, but the charging documents indicate the Taser was not effective.
The victim told police that before Wheeler allegedly attacked her, he demanded that she “bow” to him. She also said he had earlier shaved his head, and that she believed he was bipolar and off his medication.
Until this week, Wheeler was an offensive lineman in the NFL, most recently playing for the Seattle Seahawks. He was set to be a free agent in the upcoming football season, but said on Twitter this week that he was leaving the NFL in order to get help for an apparent mental health condition.
At his arraignment in Kent on Monday, the former Seahawks player pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to reporters who posted on Twitter from the courtroom.
Wheeler’s girlfriend, who had been hospitalized with injuries from the alleged attack — including a broken arm and dislocated shoulder — was present in the courtroom, according to KIRO-7 reporter Lauren Donovan.
Update: Wheeler’s defense asks the judge if he can relocate to his home in Hawaii.
With a sling across her arm, his ex-girlfriend says she prefers the former Seahawk be far away- but says it SHOULD NOT be Hawaii. Instead, he should be w/family in Los Angeles. @KIRO7Seattle pic.twitter.com/UlvPlsL0Gr
— Lauren Donovan (@LaurenKIRO7) February 1, 2021
Wheeler’s defense team reportedly requested that he be allowed to move to Hawaii, where he has a home, while the victim said she wanted him to be far away from her, though not in Hawaii. She suggested Wheeler move to Los Angeles to be with family. The judge reportedly denied both relocation requests. Donovan said on Twitter that the defense team pushed back, requesting that the judge reconsider allowing Wheeler to relocate — arguing that Wheeler had been living in a hotel since the incident on January 24. Wheeler and the victim reportedly shared the apartment where he allegedly attacked her.
Donovan said on Twitter that Wheeler will be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor.
It is not yet clear if the judge set a trial date. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
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[Feature image: AP Photo/Danny Karnik, File]