Christmas is a particular time. It’s a holiday with many changing moods and attitudes, and purposes throughout the years since its inception.

It was initially a Roman holiday where men would exchange gifts and have a raucous feast.

Then, as the Empire embraced Christ, they changed many of their established holidays to be more respectful of the Lord, even if it didn’t make sense.

Yes, it’s not Christ’s birthday, but it’s when we celebrate His birth and one another with peace and joy on Earth and all that. That’s what counts. 

But it doesn’t count for everyone. Not everyone gets to have a merry or happy Christmas. William Wallace didn’t, and neither did his kids.

Back in 2011, his family awoke to a morning of unwrapping presents in front of a corpse.

His three children had to endure a Christmas nightmare as they were forced to be happy in front of their mother, who he’d killed the night before and positioned like a decoration to watch them as they celebrated. That’s one way to keep the family together for the holidays.


10 /10 Za'Zell Preston

Za’Zell was the mother of three, a one-time forgiver of the man who killed her. She was a loving woman with a heart full of hope and arms open with love for her man, with all his faults on display.

At her death, she was studying to help provide for her family as a professional domestic abuse consultant.

But it wasn’t all love in the Wallace-Preston home. She had a hot streak to her that came out when she drank, and that came out in William twice as bad.


9 /10 Good At The Start

The couple never officially married but cohabitated for years, during which time they had their three children. Records of their past interactions showed primarily good times.

Za’Zell was very prolific with her Facebook, posting pictures that showed a loving couple and a man proud of his children, especially of the wife carrying them.

She loved him dearly and planned on marrying him, which her sister and mother protested once she told them.


8 /10 Under The Wrapping

William and Za’Zell were together for three years at the start before he went to jail the first time. Yes, the first time. He went in and out of prison during their relationship, usually on domestic abuse charges.

This might have been what inspired Za’Zell to pursue a career as a counselor and hopeful preventer of future assaults, not just on herself but on other women she immediately sympathized with.

The first time they had a legal split was in 2008, and by then, they already had a daughter and would soon have another on the way.

7 /10 The Night Before Christmas

The incident began at a Christmas party hosted by their neighbors in their Anaheim neighborhood.

Wallace initially reported that what happened was an accident caused in self-defense from heated emotions in an alcohol-fueled argument, which was the same kind of thing that happened before.

They left the party either already arguing or left to immediately argue nearby before they took it back to their own home, where Wallace finished the deed.

6 /10 Deck The Halls

The scene of the Wallace-Preston home – which was technically all her home, and she invited him to live with her after he was released from prison – was nothing short of a bloodbath.

Glass was broken, holes were punched in the wall, the door was off its hinges, and Za’Zell was dead.

According to Wallace, at the time of his first arrest, she lashed out and bit him, which caused him to push her away in self-defense, where she stumbled back and hit her head on the glass table, which killed her.

Authorities kept his testimony under scrutiny for a long time.

5 /10 A Christmas Horror Story

The following day, early in the morning, Wallace called his eight-year-old and three-year-old daughters down and took his infant child with them to open presents under the tree.

The girls entered into the scene of holiday mayhem. Za’Zell was propped up and cleaned up slightly on a couch that overlooked the room. She wouldn’t move or respond to anything.

Wallace told his daughters that their mommy ruined Christmas. She got drunk, and this is what happened, so they were going to have to open presents without her – in front of her while she “watched.”

Orange County Jail

4 /10 Travesty On 34th Street

Wallace was arrested later that same day and gave his story to the police. Self-defense or not, drunk or not, it was still murder, and he was taken to court, where he was defended before a jury.

He admitted to “tossing her around a bit” as their argument escalated, which is wrong no matter how it happens.

His past allegations of domestic abuse did come up as motivators.

3 /10 Christmas Is Once A Parole

Wallace was detained before his conviction and remained behind bars, serving a sentence not yet official for ten years.

Some believed that he might have been justified in his actions through self-defense, even if it was just once, but Za’Zell’s family insisted that he was guilty.

The defense claimed that the argument was just one bad episode in a long line of a loving family.

2 /10 Early Christmas Gift

Justice came ten years later, in 2021, when Wallace was finally put on trial where his oldest daughter, at 18 years old, testified to her recollection of that unforgettable Christmas morning.

She remembered that the apartment was a wreck, blood was everywhere, and her mother’s body was cold – already dead from the night before.

Za’Zell’s mother testified that he showed no mercy, and none should be shown to him.

1 /10 The Gift Of Life

Wallace was sentenced to 15 years to life, having served ten behind bars already for second-degree murder and domestic assault.

While this did provide closure to the case and some justice for the family, it has not removed the pain of what Christmas means to them now.

Za’Zell’s children grew up with a tainted memory of one of the most joyous days of the year. He didn’t just kill their mother; he lied. He was the one who ruined Christmas, not her.

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