If you’re wondering what ever happened in the Chad Wheeler domestic violence case, the short answer is: Nothing. It’s been over a year and a half since the Kent Police Department responded to a call from a woman that stated she was “being killed.” When they arrived, they had to force their way into the apartment and then into a bathroom, where they found Alleah Taylor, the girlfriend of the 6-foot-7 offensive tackle. He was standing beside her and was uncooperative before being detained and charged with first-degree domestic violence, domestic violence unlawful imprisonment, and resisting arrest. In the meantime, Taylor suffered a concussion and endured several surgeries to repair a broken arm. In fact, she has a permanent steel plate in her arm. The photos were graphic, and her first-hand account was chilling.
The altercation began the night before the couple, who had been dating for six months, was set to head out on vacation. For this reason, Taylor felt that the 310-pound football player was just emotional after returning from what she called “a very hard trip in LA.” She detailed the ordeal in an exclusive interview on “CBS This Morning” a few weeks after the attack. According to the professional relationship director, she received a text from Wheeler stating that he shaved his head. It was shocking to her as he previously loved rocking his long locks. After casually shrugging it off, Taylor said, “As time went on throughout the day, he started going downhill emotionally.” After demanding that she bow to him, the ex-New York Giant snapped.
“He, he stood up. And he told me to bow down. And I asked him why. And he didn’t respond. He just told me to bow down again. And I told him no. And he immediately grabbed my neck. And that’s when things began,” she said. Taylor revealed she lost consciousness at least twice and when she came to, she realized she was bleeding before racing to the bathroom. She stated, “I remember getting up and running to the bathroom. Chad was standing by the bed, by the doorway. And he was sipping his smoothie and was like, ‘Wow, you’re, you’re still alive.’” After locking herself in the bathroom, she called police and texted her family and Wheeler’s father for help. The former USC Trojan picked the lock and entered the bathroom before the cops arrived. As previously mentioned and as further evidenced by his charges, he was uncooperative and it took three officers and two sets of handcuffs to get him under control.
While she acknowledges that she knew her ex-boyfriend was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had gone off his medication, Taylor did not let him off the hook that easily. She was present in court when he pleaded not guilty to all three charges on Feb. 1. He posted bail and his trial was set to begin in April. Asked if she felt mental health played a part in the situation, Taylor said she was not sure. She told CBS, “To be honest, I don’t know. He went and ate dinner after doing this to me, and he didn’t take the same approach with the cops as he did with me.” She further stated that she feels he just doesn’t understand the consequences. Due to what has seemed to be perpetual delay, Wheeler still hasn’t had to fully atone for his actions. He made his apology to Taylor in a post-and-delete. He wrote on Twitter:
“I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that I have caused to Alleah and her family. I apologize profusely for the turmoil that I have caused to my family, teammates, fans and those closest to me. The most important thing right now is that Alleah gets the care she needs and I get help. Both are happening. It is time for me to walk away from football and get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another. I cannot express my sorrow or remorse enough. I am truly ashamed.”
The Seattle Seahawks quickly waived him after the arrest. He also blamed the ordeal on a “manic” episode, so I wouldn’t be surprised if his defense team lobbies to decrease his time behind bars if he is indeed found guilty. Less than two weeks after his arraignment, his April 6 court date was moved to June 1 to give both the defense and prosecution time to acquire and sift through discovery material, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. The trial has since been moved at least five times as the defense continues to request more time “to get expert evaluations done prior to a trial.”
With a date set for Sept. 26, 2022, Wheeler violated a court order by removing his electronic home monitoring device on July 31. He stripped naked and wandered around a Seattle suburb before being taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation and was released the next morning. The prosecution lobbied for him to remain in custody and receive a higher bail. Instead, the judge ruled that he would keep the ankle monitor and have bi-weekly urine tests. Never mind the fact that when the ankle monitor was removed, no one knew his whereabouts for 24 hours, which posed a significant threat to Taylor’s safety. Even with this latest development, the September trial date has once again been postponed.
So often, the narrative becomes about the abuser and not the abused. While it is frustrating to those on the outside looking in that justice is moving very slowly, imagine how Taylor feels. A woman that juggles multiple professions in addition to being someone’s daughter, sister, aunt, etc. is no doubt still reeling from the aftershocks. In her own words, published in Elle magazine, the model wrote, “Doctors were surprised I survived at all. My humerus bone was broken, and my elbow was dislocated. I suffered a concussion, and had lesions on my throat where he strangled me. A blood vessel burst, and I aspirated fluids. My whole body was bruised. I vomited blood for hours. Chad left fist marks all over my face.
“There hasn’t been a night that I haven’t woken up in cold sweats — especially knowing he is out on bail. I can’t help but think that if he did this to me with so much to lose, what would he be willing to do to me now with nothing to lose?”
It’s a harrowing reality that domestic violence survivors have to endure. Some states and counties are more vigilant than others when it comes to keeping survivors abreast of court proceedings and the whereabouts of their abusers. The Domestic Violence Prevention Act, or “Brittany’s Law,” calls for domestic violence offenders to register with the state if they’re paroled or released from jail. The law is named after Brittany Passalacqua, a 12-year old girl who was murdered along with her mother by her mother’s boyfriend, John Edward Brown, in 2009. At the time of the murder, he was out on parole after 2 ½ years for assaulting his 7-week-old daughter.
More often than not, charges are dropped in cases where the victim was coerced into not attending court or simply had no knowledge of the court date. This allows perpetrators to move around, reinventing themselves, and continuing reigns of terror. While the legislation seems like a no-brainer, several years have gone by without the New York State Assembly even voting on the matter despite it being passed by the NY State Senate. It has been expressed that the hesitancy is due to the belief that registries don’t prevent crime. Back in 2016, a spokesman for the Assembly’s Democratic majority stated, “These registries do nothing to prevent crime and are generally counterproductive to public safety because they make ex-offenders less stable by making it harder to find things like housing and employment.”
Domestic violence is life-changing and life-threatening regardless of the location, so there really needs to be a greater push for consistent legislation throughout the country to protect those who have already fallen victim and to aid in the prevention of future assaults. As Taylor awaits Wheeler’s trial, let’s hope that she continues to find peace in helping others and shedding a light on the problem. While the constant continuances are no doubt a nuisance, slow justice is better than no justice.