A Kent woman reportedly attacked by former Seattle Seahawks reserve tackle Chad Wheeler told “CBS This Morning” in an exclusive interview that she is “beyond grateful” to be alive.
Alleah Taylor, 27, spoke Wednesday, Feb. 10 with CBS News’ Jericka Duncan about the Jan. 22 attack at the Kent apartment she shared with Wheeler, who is now a free agent after playing in five games last season with the Seahawks.
“How grateful are you to be alive?” Duncan asked.
“Beyond grateful,” Taylor said in her first interview since the incident with her then-boyfriend. “I really feel like God has blessed me with another chance…And I wanna try to use the time I’ve been blessed with… to help other people. And to get the story out. And make sure people don’t feel alone. And that this doesn’t happen again.”
Taylor suffered a fractured left arm and dislocated elbow. She had experienced chest pain and had difficulty breathing. She also had a swollen face.
Wheeler, 27, pleaded not guilty Feb. 1 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent to first-degree domestic violence assault, unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest for allegedly attacking his girlfriend. Kent Police arrested Wheeler Jan. 22 in the apartment after the reported attack. He was booked into the King County jail on Jan. 23 and released Jan. 26 when he posted bail, which was set at $400,000.
Taylor said the pair dated for six months with barely an argument.
“We were, like, best friends,” she said. “We did everything together…I even introduced him to my family. We would babysit my nephew together.”
But things changed that night.
“He, he stood up,” Taylor said. “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.”
Wheeler is 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 310 pounds. Taylor is 5-9 and 145 pounds.
Taylor said she blacked out twice before the attack was over.
“I had touched my face,” Taylor said. “And I looked down, and there was, there’s blood on my hand…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.’”
Taylor appeared in court at Wheeler’s arraignment and had a King County criminal advocate supervisor with the domestic violence unit read a statement to the judge.
“I didn’t want him (Wheeler) to think that he had that power over me,” Taylor said about showing up in court. “That I wasn’t going to defend myself… I thought, how easy would that be for him and his legal team to be able to say whatever they want without having to look me in the eye.”
Taylor told CBS News she thinks Wheeler should serve prison time.
“Yes,” she said. “Yes. I definitely do think that he should. I have to say the hardest part of all this wasn’t the surgeries. It wasn’t any of that. It was getting a call from my niece and nephews…They thought they had lost me. And the pain in their voice. I will never forget that. I will never forget that.”
If convicted as charged, Wheeler could face up to 12 years in prison. Wheeler’s next court date is a case setting hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 11 in the GA courtroom of the Maleng Regional Justice Center. A trial date is set for April 6, although those dates often change when attorneys from either side can ask for more time to prepare the case.
After Wheeler’s release from jail, he posted several tweets Jan. 27 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 Alleah and her family.”
Wheeler said he will get help.
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,” he said. “I cannot express my sorrow or remorse enough. I am truly ashamed.”
Domestic violence help
If you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE, go to thehotline.org or call the Kent-based Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN) at 425-656-7867.