Wheeler pleads guilty to conspiracy in faking wife’s death

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — A plea hearing was held in Charleston, WV on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 for Rodney Wheeler. Wheeler pleaded guilty to a felony charge of Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice.

Wheeler was indicted on Aug. 18, 2020. According to court records he conspired with his wife Julie Wheeler to fake her death in a fall from the Grandview Overlook in the New River Gorge National River (Now the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve). The search for Julie Wheeler took place from May 31 to June 2.

The federal indictment states Rodney and Julie Wheeler worked together on the plan to impede justice. Julie Wheeler was to be sentenced on federal health care fraud charges on June 12, 2020.

Among the actions he took as a part of the conspiracy, Rodney threw Julie Wheeler’s cellphone and shoe from the overlook where they were found by search and rescue personnel. He then posted on Facebook that he hoped she would be found. During this time Julie Wheeler was hiding in the couple’s home.

As a part of the hearing on Jan. 5, the court ordered a presentence investigation. Rodney Wheeler is scheduled to be sentenced on April 5, 2021.

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