Alleah Taylor, ex-girlfriend of former Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Chad Wheeler, knew something was wrong on Jan. 22.
That’s the day Wheeler, who she had dated for the past six months, texted Taylor to tell her he had shaved his head. She recalled how much Wheeler loved his long locks of hair, and how peculiar that gesture was.
"He loved, just loved his long hair," Taylor said on "CBS This Morning." "Just refused to cut it. It surprised me and it worried me. I came home and Chad was trying to play it off as if he just kind of cut his hair, but then as time went on throughout the day he started going downhill emotionally."
As Taylor revealed to Jericka Duncan of "CBS Morning News,” this was just the beginning of Wheeler’s “manic episode,” that would leave her bloodied and unconscious, scrambling to call 911.
"I still have to regularly get my concussion checked,” Taylor explained. “I have bolts 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."
Taylor says the former NFL player had recently stopped taking medicine prescribed for bipolar disorder, as the police report noted. That's when Wheeler "snapped into a dark place" and told Taylor to bow down. When she refused, the 315-pound offensive lineman grabbed her by the neck and threw her on the bed.
"I remember looking up at him and asking, ‘Please stop, Chad. It’s me,’” Taylor said. “And I just immediately knew the look in his eyes. And that was it."
According to Taylor, Wheeler grabbed her throat, threw her on the bed and choked her. She recalls blacking out multiple times during the attack and upon waking up, Taylor said she then ran to the bathroom while Wheeler remained by the doorway "sipping his smoothie."
"He was like, wow, you're still alive," she recounted to "CBS This Morning" as well as the police after the incident.
Wheeler was arrested on Jan. 23 and later charged for first-degree assault domestic violence, as well as unlawful imprisonment domestic violence and resisting arrest. The former Seahawks lineman plead not guilty to all three charges and has a trial date set for April 6. He was released on bond from jail after posting a $400,000 bail.
The Seahawks condemned the act and officially released Wheeler on Jan. 27.
Wheeler opened up about the assault on Twitter, saying he was “deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that I have caused.”
While Taylor is "beyond grateful," to be alive, she still felt it was important to appear at Wheeler’s arraignment. Why?
“I didn’t want him to think that he had that power over me," Taylor explained. "That I wasn’t going to defend myself. And 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."
Wheeler could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted on the domestic violence charges.