Former Seahawk appears in court charged with removing electronic ankle monitor

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Former Seahawk, Chad Wheeler, appeared in court on Tuesday after prosecutors said he removed his electronic ankle monitor and disappeared from the network for two days.

Wheeler has been under house arrest for more than a year awaiting trial for assault. He is accused of strangling his then-girlfriend Alleah Taylor.

Court documents outline that Wheeler went through a mental health crisis on Sunday, during which he “took off all his clothes, took off his EHM (electronic home monitoring) ankle bracelet and began wandering the streets.” After being evaluated at a Kirkland hospital, Wheeler was released.

Wheeler was left without an ankle monitor until Tuesday, when the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office called for an emergency hearing to determine where Wheeler was.

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Wheeler appeared at the hearing with his attorney. Taylor also attended the hearing.

“Many survivors do not show up in court because they are terrified. I was terrified. I was shaking,” Taylor said.

Despite her fears, Taylor tells KIRO 7 that she attended the hearing because she wanted to stand up for herself and ask Judge Ketu Shah to provide additional safeguards.

Prosecutor Chad Anderson also asked the judge to bail and keep Wheeler in custody.

“Our priority is the victim’s safety and if he’s in custody, we know she’s safe,” Anderson said.

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The judge refused to increase bail or hold Wheeler. Instead, the judge gave him another ankle monitor and conducted a fortnightly drug test.

“I don’t think that’s any consolation to Mrs. Taylor,” Anderson said. “He has shown that he can escape home security.”

Wheeler was able to return home after the hearing. But the judge ordered that his medication intake be monitored and that Taylor be notified immediately if there is another violation with his ankle monitor.

Taylor says there was a delay in notifying her over the weekend, which she says has disregarded her safety. Taylor tells KIRO 7 that she didn’t receive an email about Wheeler’s escape until he was off home security for over a day. She wasn’t sure if he would be at the hearing on Tuesday.

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“It was terrifying even to face him, but I’m glad they saw that I’m not afraid to open up,” Taylor said. “I will not stop fighting until I receive justice.”

Taylor says she will continue to work as a domestic violence advocate pending her trial.

Prosecutors tell KIRO 7 they hope Wheeler’s trial on the domestic abuse charge will begin later this year, but consider a backlog of the COVID-19 lawsuit as the reason for the delay.

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