SEATTLE -- Former NFL offensive lineman Chad Wheeler -- who has been on house arrest as he awaits trial in his ongoing felony domestic violence case -- recently violated a court order by removing his electronic home monitoring device, a spokesperson with the King County Prosecutor's Office told ESPN on Tuesday.
According to court documents obtained by ESPN, Wheeler's defense attorney said his client was experiencing a "mental health crisis" on the evening of July 31 when he took off all his clothes, removed the electronic home monitoring (EHM) device from his ankle and began wandering the streets in the Seattle suburb of Redmond. A friend located Wheeler, called for help and took a photograph of him as he was being tended to by first responders while naked.
Wheeler was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation and released the next morning, according to the documents.
King County prosecutors asked for an emergency hearing Tuesday afternoon in which a judge denied their request to raise Wheeler's bail to $800,000 and keep him in custody, according to the spokesperson. Wheeler will remain on EHM with bi-monthly urinalysis and his "medication intake will also be monitored by professionals and the victim will be notified if there is an electronic home monitoring violation."
Wheeler, who attended Tuesday's hearing with attorney Diego Vargas, previously posted $400,000 bond after his arrest in January of 2021.
Wheeler had recently finished his second season with the Seattle Seahawks when he was accused of twice choking his then-girlfriend until she lost consciousness. The woman's injuries included a fractured humerus and dislocated elbow.
Wheeler, who has bipolar disorder, said he was experiencing a "manic episode" during the incident. The woman, Alleah Taylor, said she was unsure of whether the alleged assault was related to Wheeler's mental health. He pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of first-degree domestic violence assault, domestic violence unlawful imprisonment and resisting arrest.
Wheeler's trial date is scheduled for Sept. 26. It has been pushed back several times as a result of continuances requested by and granted to the defense.