Former Seahawks backup offensive lineman Chad Wheeler pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault domestic violence during an arraignment Monday morning at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
In addition to the first-degree assault charge, which is a Class A felony, Wheeler also was charged last Wednesday with unlawful imprisonment domestic violence and resisting arrest, according to charging documents. He pleaded not guilty to each of those Monday, as well.
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 in Kent, according to a court spokesman. A trial date is set for April 6 at 9 a.m., also in the GA courtroom of the Maleng Regional Justice Center.
The court was notified that Wheeler had been fitted on Thursday with a GPS electronic home monitoring device administered by 2 Watch Monitoring. The judge ordered Wheeler to remain in the King County area (King, Pierce and Snohomish counties) while on electronic home detention.
Wheeler was accused of beating his girlfriend and strangling her into unconsciousness at the couple’s Kent apartment on Jan. 22.
Wheeler, after being arrested in Kent early on Jan. 23, posted $400,000 bail and was released from jail.
At the arraignment, Wendy Ross, a Criminal Advocate Supervisor with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence, read a statement written by the victim that began with her stating that she wished Wheeler was still in custody and that “I want you to know that I believe that as long as he is out of custody, I am not safe.”
The Seattle Times does not generally identify victims of domestic violence.
The statement asked that Wheeler not be allowed to return to Hawaii, where he has a residence. The judge denied Wheeler’s objection to electronic home detention and his request to go to his property in Hawaii.
“Now, Chad is out of custody staying in a hotel watching this play out on social media,” the statement read. “This current status places my safety at risk, and I do not believe that a protective order or a condition of release is sufficient to keep me safe.
“I object to him serving his time in Seattle, which places me at risk. I also object to him serving his time essentially on vacation in Hawaii. He and I were supposed to be on vacation together at that location. Instead, I am here, undergoing medical treatment, handling a barrage of attention and abuse on social media, and dealing with the ramifications of this horrific attack. Permitting Chad to serve his time in Hawaii under these circumstances is not acceptable.”
King County Superior Court Judge Tanya Thorp on Monday kept bail set at $400,000, which was the amount set by a judge at Wheeler’s first appearance.
Wheeler, a backup offensive lineman who played in five games for the Seahawks last year, was waived Wednesday.
Thursday, NFL transactions showed he cleared waivers, meaning no team picked him up, and he is a free agent.
Wheeler, 27, tweeted last Wednesday that he is walking away from football to get help, saying he was having a manic episode due to bi-polar disorder on Jan. 22.
“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 wrote in one of three tweets. “I cannot express my sorrow or remorse enough. I am truly ashamed.”
Wheeler attributed the incident to “a manic episode” and wrote: “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 (the victim) gets the care she needs and I get help. Both are happening.”