Man put dead wife on couch as kids opened Christmas presents
A man in California who allegedly murdered his wife put her dead body on a couch in front of his kids, according to a prosecutor in a trial on Monday, March 8.
William Wallace, now 39, is accused of killing his wife, Za’Zell Preston, during a fight that took place on Christmas Eve of 2011. At the time, she was 26 and he was 30, the Orange County Register reported.
He was controlling and violent to Preston, and would also threaten to kill her, her relatives told investigators.
Wallace “did what he always did, expecting (Preston) to survive like she always did,” senior deputy district attorney Heather Brown said during the trial on Monday, which he had been awaiting since his arrest on Dec. 25, 2011.
“This Christmas story does not have a happy ending, and unfortunately this is not just a story, it is real life,” she added.
After their altercation, Wallace reportedly brought Preston’s body from the bedroom and to the couch and put sunglasses on her on Christmas morning. He told his kids—a newborn son and two daughters, then 3 and 8 years old—that she was drunk and had ruined Christmas. He then told his kids to open their presents, Brown said.
Paramedics found Preston’s body on the couch when they arrived. There was blood around the apartment, holes punched in walls and a door that was unhinged, police stated.
A neighbor said he heard the couple arguing during Christmas Eve. Another neighbor said Wallace picked up a body by their apartment gate.
Wallace claimed that he and Preston were drinking “and during the argument I tossed her around a bit,” Brown said in court. When Preston tried to run, he caught her and brought her into the apartment.
Wallace’s attorney claimed that Preston died from a drunken fall into a glass table. She added that their older daughter saw her mom trip and fall into a table. The daughter pulled glass out of her mom’s body and cleaned her wounds. When Wallace moved her to a bathtub, Preston’s head supposedly hit something before they reached the bathroom.
Wallace could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. He has been in jail since 2011 in lieu of a $1 million bail. Niña V. Guno /ra
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