[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Prosecutors in Orange County, California are alleging a man killed his wife on Christmas Eve and then propped her dead body up on Christmas morning so that her kids could open gifts in front of her.
That’s the accusation being made against a man named William Wallace, of Anaheim, California, who is currently on trial for the 2011 murder of his wife, Za’Zell Preston. The woman was just 26 years old at the time of her death late on Christmas Eve, or very early on Christmas morning, one decade ago.
According to the Orange County Register, which is currently covering Wallace’s trial, the accused reportedly had a “violent argument” with Preston on Christmas Eve, 2011. After the argument escalated, prosecutors allege, Wallace struck and killed Preston. Then, the unthinkable: prosecutors claim that hours after Preston’s death, Wallace placed her body on the sofa, put sunglasses on her, and “proceeded to have their kids open [Christmas] gifts.”
WTF?! As if nothing was wrong??
As a cover, authorities claim Wallace told the children that “Mommy got drunk and ruined Christmas.” At the time, Wallace and Preston had two daughters, who were 8-years-old and 3-year-old, as well as a 7-week-old newborn baby. To make things even more heart-wrenching, the Orange County Register reports on the tragic irony that Preston was actually studying to become a domestic violence counselor in order to help abused women at the time of her passing.
Wallace’s attorneys have painted a different picture in court, with their lead argument holding that the defendant is “being accused of something that is not his fault.” According to the San Jose Mercury News, the defense claims Preston merely got drunk and “fell on a glass table,” hitting her head and leading to her death.
Per wire reports from the AP, defense attorney Heather Moorhead told jurors (below):
“You will hear about a relationship that was full of arguing and yelling, but also a lot of love.”
Wallace has been in jail for ten years awaiting this trial on this first-degree murder charge. The now-39-year-old man was arrested back on Christmas Day 2011 and has been held in lieu of $1 million bail ever since.
Witnesses at the trial have thus far painted Wallace as “an alleged picture of repeated violent behavior” towards Preston, according to the Register. Preston’s relatives also reportedly told investigators that he had allegedly threatened to kill her in the past, as well, after previously serving jail time for hitting her in a separate incident.
The trial continues Thursday. Wow. Such an awful, tragic story…
[Image via Orange County (CA) Jail]