A California man has been convicted of second degree murder after being accused of killing his wife on Christmas 10 years ago and propping her body on the couch while her kids opened presents, officials said.
William Wallace, 39, of Anaheim was convicted Wednesday of the murder charge and is scheduled to be sentenced June 4, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a news release. Wallace faces a maximum of 15 years to life in prison and previously served time for beating his wife, according to the release.
Wallace was indicted by a grand jury in 2012 for one felony count of murder in the killing of his wife Zazell Preston, 26, Spitzer said. Prosecutors said Wallace hit Preston in the head between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 2011 while her 3-year-old daughter, 8-year-old daughter and the couple’s 7-week-old son were in the house.
Wallace is accused of calling the police on Christmas morning to report that Preston needed medical attention, Spitzer said. Anaheim police said they found her unresponsive and she was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
“A young mother finally losing her life after years of violence at the hands of her husband is a heart wrenching tragedy,” Spitzer said. “That heartbreak is only exacerbated by the fact that her children witnessed much of the violence and were forced to celebrate Christmas in the presence of their dead mother. That is not a Christmas memory any child should be forced to have.”