A California man who killed his wife, then propped her body on a couch while her kids opened presents on Christmas morning in 2011, was sentenced to prison Friday, June 4.
Anaheim resident William Wallace, 39, was convicted on April 7 of second-degree murder. On Friday, Wallace was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, the Orange County Register reports.
Orange County prosecutors said Wallace “used blunt force trauma to the head of his wife, Za'Zell Preston, 26, rendering her unconscious” between Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, 2011.
The victim’s 3-year-old and 8-year-old daughters from a previous relationship and the couple’s 7-week-old son were in the apartment at the time, the OCDA’s Office said.
On Christmas morning, Wallace brought Preston's dead body from the bedroom into the living room and put sunglasses on her.
Wallace told the kids, "Mommy ruined Christmas, she got drunk and ruined Christmas,” the Register reported.
At about 9:30 that morning, Wallace called 911 to report Preston was in need of medical attention. She was hospitalized, where she was pronounced dead.
Wallace had previously spent time in jail for beating Preston, the OCDA’s Office said. Za’Zell Preston was taking college classes to become a domestic violence counselor.
Wallace and Preston had gone to a Christmas Eve party at a neighbor's house the night before coming back to their apartment. Neighbors later heard Preston and Wallace yelling that night. Police found blood in the apartment, holes in the walls, and a door off its hinges.
Wallace then moved her into a bathtub, Moorhead said, but Preston’s head struck something else in the bathroom on the way. Wallace told multiple people Preston had suffered a concussion after falling and hitting her head and had not woken up.
In Friday's sentencing, Wallace was given credit for time he served awaiting trial -- more than nine years.