A Southern California man who killed his wife propped up her body on a sofa, told their children she was drunk and had them open Christmas presents in front of her body, a prosecutor told jurors at his murder trial.

by: The Associated PressNexstar Media Wire

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — “This Christmas story does not have a happy ending, and unfortunately this is not just a story, it is real life,” Heather Brown, senior deputy district attorney in Orange County, said Monday as trial began for William Wallace of Anaheim, the Orange County Register reported.

FILE PHOTO: A California man is accused of murdering his wife and propping her body on the family’s couch as their children opened Christmas presents in 2011. (YKvision/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Za’Zell Preston, 26, was taking college classes in hopes of becoming a domestic violence counselor when she was killed in 2011 by a man who already had served jail time for beating her, the paper said.

The couple had gone to a neighbor’s Christmas Eve party and a neighbor described hearing an argument later that night, Brown said.

Wallace told a member of Preston’s family that “we were drinking and during the argument I tossed her around a bit,” the prosecutor said.

Brown said the next morning, Wallace dragged his wife’s body from the bedroom to the living room couch, placed sunglasses on her and told the children: “Mommy ruined Christmas, she got drunk and ruined Christmas.”

Preston was slumped over on the couch when paramedics arrived. She left a newborn son and two daughters, who were then 3 and 8 years old.

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