The woman who says she was brutally beaten by former Seahawks lineman Chad Wheeler is speaking out about her ordeal for the first time since the incident.
Alleah Taylor, 27, discussed her six-month relationship with Wheeler and recounted details of the brutal attack during an exclusive interview with “CBS This Morning” that aired Feb. 10.
“I still have to regularly get my concussion checked. … I have bolts, and steel, and a steel plate I’m gonna have forever in my arm. … I’m gonna have to deal with this the rest of my life,” she said.
Wheeler, 27, was arrested late last month on suspicion of felony domestic violence, accused of choking his girlfriend to the point of her passing out twice.
Photos of a badly beaten woman, now known to be Taylor, were leaked online and shared widely on social media, along with text messages in which Taylor described Wheeler’s actions.
“He thought I was dead on my bed and continued to eat dinner,” the message read. “When I ran into the bathroom, he said, ‘Wow, you’re still alive’ while sipping on a smoothie.”
Taylor told CBS that she and Wheeler had hardly argued during their six-month relationship leading up to the attack.
“We were, like, best friends. We did everything together. … I even introduced him to my family. We would babysit my nephew together,” she said.
According to Taylor, Wheeler began slipping into a “manic episode” on Jan. 22, beginning with his out-of-character decision to shave his head.
“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 explained.
Police responded to a 911 call on Friday from Taylor, who was locked in the bathroom in a suburban Seattle residence and claimed she was being “killed.” She had fled into the bathroom to get away from the 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive lineman.
When police arrived, they found Wheeler standing in the bathroom beside Taylor because he had picked the lock to enter. According to police reports, it took three officers to successfully place Wheeler in handcuffs.
Taylor was taken to a hospital and treated for a dislocated shoulder. She said she underwent surgeries for her injuries.
Wheeler was dropped by the Seattle Seahawks last month. In a statement, the team said it “strongly condemn(s) this act of domestic violence.”
Wheeler said he was “truly ashamed” of what happened and that it was time for him to walk away from football to seek help.
Taylor said she isn’t sure what role mental health problems played in the bipolar athlete’s violent behavior, and believes Wheeler should face jail time for the attack.
“Yes. Yes. I definitely do think that he should,” she said “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.”
Wheeler pleaded not guilty on Feb. 1 to charges of first-degree domestic violence assault, domestic violence unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest. His trial is scheduled for April 6. If convicted, Wheeler could be sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison.
Taylor, who was present at the arraignment, said Wheeler is still a threat to her safety.
She spoke about why it was important for her to appear in court, saying, “I didn’t want him to think that he had that power over me. 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.”