A California man has finally been charged with the 2011 murder of his wife after he allegedly propped up her dead body as their kids opened Christmas presents and claimed that their mom had “ruined Christmas” by getting drunk. William Wallace, 39 and from Anaheim, is said to have told the children that 26-year-old Za’Zell Preston had been drinking when really he’d killed her, The Sun reports. Sadly, their three children – a newborn, a 3-year-old, and an 8-year-old at the time, would soon find out the real truth.
- The couple were fighting before the murder. While prosecutors are still piecing together all the small details of how Za’Zell lost her life, what is known is that the pair had gone to a Christmas Eve party and began arguing when they got home, which neighbors told police they heard at the time. Wallace allegedly admitted the argument, telling relatives, “We were drinking and during the argument, I tossed her around a bit.”
- Police believe Wallace murdered his wife during the argument. “This Christmas story does not have a happy ending, and unfortunately this is not just a story, it is real life,” senior deputy district attorney Heather Brown said before a jury on Monday. After murdering Za’Zell on December 24, prosecutors say he dragged her dead body from the bedroom to the living room to display in front of his children.
- Eventually, someone called 911. It’s unclear who made the call to emergency services in the end, but needless to say, Za’Zell was already long gone and unable to be resuscitated when they arrived. When police arrived, they reportedly found blood on the walls and a door off its hinges. Wallace was arrested immediately.
- Wallace has been in custody for the last nine years. However, it’s only now that his trial is finally beginning. For the past nine years, he’s been held on $1 million bond, which he was unable to post. His lawyer claims he was wrongfully imprisoned and that Za’Zell died due to injuries she sustained from a drunken fall. If convicted, Wallace faces 25 years to life behind bars.