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Alleah Taylor, the woman who said she was attacked by former Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Chad Wheeler and called 911 in whispers for help, is sharing the details of her story for the first time.
Taylor spoke with Jericka Duncan of "CBS Morning News" and said she will have to live with the results of the attack for the rest of her life. The details she shares and the photos released are graphic and difficult to watch.
Taylor, 27, spoke via a video call with Duncan. Her left arm was in a sling.
"I still have to regularly get my concussion checked," Taylor said. "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 she is sharing her story for the first time to let other domestic violence survivors know they are not alone.
Wheeler's ex-girlfriend shares details of assault
Taylor said she and Wheeler had dated around six months and had "barely any arguments." They were like best friends, she said, and would do standard couple things, like meet with family and babysit her nephew.
It started with a text from him on Jan. 22, she said, stating he had shaved his head.
"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."
She later told police it was the beginning of a "manic episode" and she knew he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In the police report, she told them he "snapped into a dark place."
Taylor said Wheeler, 27, stood up at their shared apartment that day and told her to bow down. He didn't answer why and told her again to do it, she said. When she said no, the 6-foot-7 and 315-pound lineman grabbed her neck, she said.
"When he grabbed my neck he threw me on the bed," said Taylor, who is 5-9 and 145 pounds. "I remember looking up at him and asking, ‘Please stop, Chad. It’s me.’ And I just immediately knew the look in his eyes. And that was it."
Taylor said she blacked out twice during the attack and photos show her with blood all over her face. She ran to the bathroom, she said, while Wheeler stood by the doorway "sipping a smoothie."
"He was like, wow, you're alive," she told "CBS This Morning" as well as the police after the incident.
CBS shared audio of the 911 call. Taylor is whispering in the call and tells the dispatcher, "please help me now. I'm gonna die." She told "CBS This Morning" she locked herself in the room and also texted her family and Wheeler's father for help. It took three officers and two sets of handcuffs to restrain Wheeler when police arrived, per the police report.
Wheeler pleads not guilty to three charges
Wheeler was arrested and pleaded not guilty to two charges of domestic violence and one of resisting arrest in a court hearing last week. The Seahawksreleased him days after the assault and encouraged him to "get the help he needs." Both Wheeler,who issued an apology on Twitter, and Taylor said the NFL player was having a "manic episode."
Wheeler apologized to Taylor and her family "for the pain and suffering" he caused and apologized "profusely for the turmoil that I have caused to my family, teammates, fans and those closest to me." He said the most important thing is for Taylor to get the help she needs and that he get help.
He could face between 8 and 12 years in prison if convicted. Taylor said she "definitely" thinks he should serve time for the pain that went beyond herself.
"I have to say the hardest part of all this wasn’t the surgeries, it wasn’t any of that," Taylor said. "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."
Why is Taylor telling her story?
She appeared at Wheeler's court date on Feb. 1 and a criminal advocate supervisor with the county prosecutor's office read a statement on her behalf. It gave details of the assault and said she does not feel safe with Wheeler out of custody. He posted bond on Jan. 26.
"I didn’t want him to think that he had that power over me," she said, via CBS. "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."
Taylor said she is telling her story so that it isn't forgotten. She wants to provide help and assurance to other victims of domestic violence. She was asked by Duncan how grateful she is to be alive.
"Beyond grateful," she said. "I really feel like God has blessed me with another chance and I want to try to use the time I’ve been blessed with to help other people and get this story out and make sure people don’t feel alone. And that this doesn’t happen again."
The court case in Washington State is scheduled for April. Wheeler remains without a post on an NFL roster and players have reportedly wanted the league to issue a strong statement against his actions.
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