On Thursday, former NFL offensive lineman Chad Wheeler was convicted of two counts of domestic violence stemming from a 2021 incident involving his then-girlfriend. At the time, Wheeler, serving as a backup tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, was apprehended in January 2021 following accusations of restraining the woman and strangling her twice to the point of unconsciousness.
The victim, Alleah Taylor, reported that upon regaining consciousness during the second instance, Wheeler expressed astonishment that she had survived.
Taylor suffered serious injuries, including a fractured humerus and dislocated elbow. In response to the verdict, Taylor shared on X later that day, “I finally have justice.”
Wheeler, who has disclosed his bipolar disorder diagnosis, claimed he was in the midst of a “manic episode” during the incident. Taylor expressed uncertainty regarding the connection between the alleged assault and Wheeler’s mental health. Wheeler entered a plea of not guilty to charges of first-degree domestic violence assault, domestic violence unlawful imprisonment, and resisting arrest.
Following the incident, the Seahawks released Wheeler, who had previously played for the New York Giants, and he has not been signed to any NFL roster since.
The trial experienced multiple delays due to continuances requested by the defense. A King County jury ultimately found Wheeler guilty of first- and second-degree assault/domestic violence but acquitted him of a third count of unlawful imprisonment.
According to a spokesperson from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the jury concluded that Wheeler “used force or means likely to result in death,” enabling the state to pursue a mandatory minimum of five years for the first-degree assault charge. The second-degree assault charge carries an aggravator based on the severity of Taylor’s injuries, allowing the state to seek a sentence beyond the standard range.
Wheeler was taken into custody and is slated for sentencing on December 14.