by The Chicago Times Staff

June 7, 2021

SANTA ANA, CA – William Wallace, 39, of Anaheim, was sentenced to 15 years to life in jail on Friday for killing his wife and propping up her body on a sofa while her children opened Christmas presents.

Za’Zell Preston, 26, was killed in 2011 by Wallace, who was convicted of second-degree murder earlier this year.  Preston was allegedly abused by Wallace several times throughout their marriage, according to authorities.

Preston’s mother spoke during his sentencing hearing “He beat and tortured my daughter and at the same time mentally assassinated her children…He had no mercy for her.  Let us not be merciful to him.”

Preston was allegedly attending college classes in the hopes of becoming a domestic violence counselor when she was fatally battered by Wallace on Dec. 24 or early Dec. 25 in 2011, according to prosecutors. Wallace had previously done time in prison for hitting her.  The couple had gone to a neighbor’s Christmas Eve party, according to prosecutors, and a neighbor recounted hearing an argument later that night.

According to the prosecution, Wallace took his wife’s body from the bedroom to the living room couch the next morning, dressed her in sunglasses, and told the kids, “Mommy ruined Christmas, she got drunk and ruined Christmas.”

Wallace’s attorney said that Preston died from injuries when she drunkenly slipped and fell into a glass table, breaking it.

Preston left behind a 7-week-old boy and two girls, 3 and 8, from a previous relationship.