A California man who allegedly murdered his wife is accused of hiding her death from their children in a sickening way and blaming her for it.
William Wallace, 39, is accused of killing his wife, Za’Zell Preston, 26, and propping up her dead body on a couch while their unsuspecting children opened Christmas gifts.
The Orange County Register reports that prosecutors made the shocking allegation during Wallace’s murder trial for Preston’s 2011 death. Prosecutors told jurors that Wallace was abusive to his wife and “expected her to survive like she always did” after a night of violence on Christmas Eve. When that didn’t happen, he allegedly took drastic measures.
Prosecutors including Senior Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown told jurors that the couple went to a party at a neighbor’s before returning home to the apartment they shared with their newborn son and Preston’s daughters who were then three and eight years old. A neighbor said they heard the two arguing and another neighbor told investigators Wallace could be seen “picking up what appeared to be a body by an apartment gate.”
Prosecutors also said Wallace told one of Preston’s family members that “we were drinking and during the argument, “I tossed her around a bit,” reports The Orange County Register. After his wife’s death, jurors allege that he dragged her lifeless body to a living room couch, put sunglasses on her, and told their children that, “Mommy ruined Christmas, she got drunk and ruined Christmas.”
A lawyer for the alleged murderer is insisting that the wife who was taking college classes in hopes of becoming a domestic violence counselor, died not from abuse, but because she “drunkenly tripped and fell into a glass table.”
The Daily Mail, which also covered the story, added that William Wallace told relatives that he was defending himself from Preston because she “attacked him and bit him” and “she fell and hit her head.”
“Mr. Wallace is being accused of something that is not his fault,” Heather Moorhead told jurors according to The Orange County Register. “You will hear about a relationship that was full of arguing and yelling, but also a lot of love.”
If convicted of first-degree murder, Wallace faces up to 25 years to life in prison.