A King County Superior Court jury found Chad Wheeler, a former Seattle Seahawks reserve tackle, guilty of two domestic violence assault charges for attacking his then girlfriend in 2021 at their Kent apartment.
Wheeler, 29, played in five games for the Seahawks in 2020 before they released him. He played two years for the New York Giants prior to Seattle.
A jury convicted Wheeler Nov. 9 of first-degree domestic violence assault and second-degree domestic violence assault, according to an email from Casey McNerthney, spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The jury found Wheeler not guilty of unlawful imprisonment.
Wheeler pleaded not guilty to all charges on Feb. 1, 2021.
Defense attorneys asked that Wheeler remain out of custody pending sentencing, McNerthney said. Prosecutors asked the judge to remand him into custody. The judge remanded him into custody. He is in the county jail at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, according to jail records.
Wheeler is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 14 by Judge Joe Campagna at the Maleng Regional Justice Center. Prosecutors will seek a mandatory minimum sentence of five years after the jury found via a special verdict that Wheeler used force or means likely to result in death.
Kent Police arrested Wheeler Jan. 22, 2021 after the reported attack in the apartment. He was booked into the King County jail on Jan. 23, 2021 and released three days later after he posted bail, which was set at $400,000. A judge ordered Wheeler to remain in the King County area (King, Pierce and Snohomish counties) while on electronic home detention.
At the arraignment in 2021, Wendy Ross, a criminal advocate supervisor with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence unit, read a statement written by his then girlfriend, who was present at the arraignment:
“As you consider Chad’s custody status, I want you to know that I believe that as long as he is out of custody, I am not safe,” according to the statement. “When Chad attacked me, he first sat on top of me, choked me, stuffed his fingers down my throat and covered my nose and mouth with his hands. I begged him to stop. When I tried to get away, he broke and dislocated my arm.
“When I came to, he strangled me again, rendering me unconscious a second time. When I awoke a second time — covered in my own blood — he said, “Wow, you’re alive.” When I locked myself in the bathroom to call the police, I could hear him speaking coolly to his father over the phone. Chad never called the police even though he thought I was dead.”
According to court documents, Wheeler attacked his then girlfriend at about 9:46 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2021 in their Kent unit at the Berkeley Heights Apartments, 22804 90th Way S., that they shared since November 2020. Officers responded to multiple 911 calls, including one from Wheeler’s girlfriend who reported that she was being “killed.”
Officers arrived at the apartment and heard screaming from inside. Officers forced their way into the apartment and saw a pool of blood on a bed comforter adjacent to a bathroom, where they found Wheeler and his then girlfriend. Her face was covered in blood and her left arm limp at her side, according to court documents.
Wheeler was standing behind her and said, “Sorry, I don’t beat women,” as officers tried to detain him. Wheeler, who is 6 feet 7 inches and at the time of the attack weighed 310 pounds, battled with officers to stop them from handcuffing him, according to court documents. He fought off three officers in the bathroom and was only detained after officers used hand strikes and fired Tasers at him.
Paramedics transported the woman to Valley Medical Center in Renton. She suffered a fractured left arm and dislocated elbow. She had experienced chest pain and had difficulty breathing. She also had a swollen face.
The woman locked herself in the bathroom after she regained consciousness and sent text messages to friends and family asking that they call 911, not wanting to make any voice calls herself for fear of Wheeler hearing. When she tried to flee out of the second door to the bathroom, Wheeler met her at the door. Officers then arrived and heard the woman screaming.
The woman told police she believed Wheeler suffered from bi-polar disorder and had not been taking his medication.
After Wheeler’s release from jail, he posted several tweets Jan. 27, 2021 about the incident.
“Events happened over the weekend that transpired from a manic episode, Wheeler said. “I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that I have caused to (his girlfriend) and her family.”
In his second tweet, he said:
“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 (his then girlfriend) gets the care she needs and I get help. Both are happening.”
Wheeler tweeted he will get help.
“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.”