True Crime Tuesday: The Christmas Eve Murder of Za’Zell Preston

Please read the “TCT Disclaimer” under the True Crime tab at the top of the page before reading any true crime posts.

Happy Holidays, weirdos… and also regular people who are not sure how they ended up on my blog but are reading this anyway! All are welcome. Except for assholes. I have a strict no-assholes policy around here. I have a sign made out of cardboard and Sharpie on my office door and everything. My cat, as she is wont to do, keeps ignoring it. Maybe I need to edit it. No Assholes ALLOWED… also no one who poops on my carpets ALLOWED!

But also she can’t read. So…

Cat Smoking GIF by sheepfilms

This will be my one and only true crime post for December, but considering I haven’t written one since July, it’s kind of like a Christmas miracle, if Christmas miracles look like me just doing a thing I said I would do.

With that in mind, I want to say Hey Girl, hey! to Brandie, who messaged me recently about these true crime posts, because I have honestly been wondering for a while if I should keep writing these or just ditch that part of my blog altogether. Sometimes messages from readers come at such serendipitous times.

Now, here I am with a new post! Appreciate you, Brandie!

So, before we get into it, there are a couple things I want to make clear. One, I will be trying my best to not make any distasteful Weekend at Bernie’s references, but if you think it, just know I thought it, too. But we both know we’re not making fun of the victim (because we don’t make jokes at the victim’s expense around here,) but instead are mocking the fucking idiot killer who thought that shit would work.

Secondly, yes, the murdering piece of fucking shit is named William Wallace. Obviously, he is not the historical figure who Mel Gibson’s portrayed in Braveheart.

Because when it comes to this case, a Scottish knight would NEVER.

CW: domestic violence.

Za'Zell Preston was weeks away from graduating college before her murder.

Christmas Eve. 2011. Anaheim, California.

Za’Zell Preston, 26, and her partner of 3 years, William Wallace returned from a neighbour’s holiday party, arguing so loudly and so physically that it caught the attention of their neighbours. But this was nothing new in their relationship.

In 2008, Wallace was convicted and served 45 days in jail on a battery against a cohabitant charge, after which he was given probation and ordered to attend a batterer’s treatment program. And just the fact that a “batterer’s treatment program” is even a thing or that anyone thinks it would work… come on.

Like I don’t want to shit on trying what we can to rehabilitate these fucking turd buckets, but I’m also a pessimist/realist and honestly, have you ever known an abusive spouse to change? Really? Anyone? Bueller… Bueller…

If you don’t get that reference, you’re too young to be reading my shit.

GIF by hero0fwar

So, anyway, surprise, surprise, the batterer’s program did not work, and after subsequent volatile confrontations between the couple, Preston eventually had to take out a restraining order against Wallace. And he repeatedly violated it, because of course. He even publically threatened to kill Preston on numerous occasions. Preston’s grandmother would later testify in court about two abusive instances she was involved in. One, where she found Preston lying in the fetal position in the middle of a street after Wallace had beat her. Another the other, when Preston had called her grandmother for help as she hid from Wallace in a convenience store bathroom.

Preston and Wallace were together for three years during which he was jailed several times for beating her and violating a restraining order that she obtained against him

Preston, however, was deep into this abusive relationship and just couldn’t see the truth of the situation – that Wallace was broken, unfixable and dangerous, and he would never change. She really loved Wallace and believed they could make it work. Preston’s family said Wallace was an expert at convincing Preston to take him back and forgive him, and Preston was sure Wallace would change. Or that she could change him. Or both. And after going to jail again for a restraining order violation, Preston continued to visit her man behind bars.

Lorri Galloway, Preston’s friend and operator of Eli Home – a refuge for abused women and children – confirmed Wallace regularly beat Preston during their 3-year relationship, and Galloway, along with other friends consistently begged Preston to leave Wallace.

“This is the story of a girl who had access to resources, but she thought she could handle it,” Galloway said to the Orange County Register. “These men are experts at apologizing. The women think they can change them.”

On Wallace’s last trip to the slammer, Preston was pregnant with their first child together. Preston already had two daughters, then 3 and 8, from a previous relationship.

Preston, pregnant and in love, visited Wallace in prison and he told her he was a changed man, that he had found Jesus and was going to live his life dedicated to God and faith and family.

Chelsea Peretti Eye Roll GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine

“She believed it,” Galloway said.

In the summer of 2011, Wallace was released from prison and Preston moved him into her apartment with her two daughters and their newborn son. She told her mother and grandmother that she intended to marry Wallace.

On their way back to their apartment building from the Christmas Eve party, Preston and Wallace were drunk and arguing. Neighbour’s recall hearing fighting, screaming and seeing a physical altercation between the couple that resulted in Wallace dragging Preston back into the apartment from the apartment complex’s gate after she tried to escape.

Wallace propped up Preston's body on a sofa, told their children she was drunk and had them open Christmas presents in front of her body

From here, things get a bit fuzzy. No one really knows what went on behind closed doors, and we can’t rely on an abuser to take responsibility or tell the truth, ever. There was one partial witness though – Preston’s then 8-year-old daughter.

During the violent argument, Preston’s oldest child woke up and wandered into the living room where she saw Wallace push Preston onto a glass table. Preston went down hard, hit her head and the table shattered. The daughter, now 18, recalled in court how she helped Wallace pull glass shards out of her mother’s wounds.

Wallace would later tell a relative, “we were drinking and during the argument, I tossed her around a little bit.”

Like, only a little bit, sir. That’s okay, right? Just physically tossing around the mother of your child to teach her a lesson? Ugh, the casual way these assholes say shit like this is just stunning. DO YOU HEAR YOURSELVES?

When the glass was mostly removed, the daughter says Wallace picked up Preston’s body and carried her into the bathroom to clean up the blood. He dropped her to the floor and knocked her head into the toilet as he did. When Wallace had finished cleaning up Preston’s body, he carried her into their bedroom and put her to bed. The older daughter said her mother’s body was cold by this point.

Christmas morning. Preston’s two daughters, along with her 7-week-old son, were in the living room ready to open presents. Wallace dragged Preston’s body into the living room where he propped her on a couch and placed sunglasses on her face.

He told the three children, “Mommy ruined Christmas. She got drunk and ruined Christmas.”

He then ordered the kids to open their presents in front of the sunglasses-wearing, dead body of their mother.

I just…

Season 8 Bravo GIF

I mean honestly, this is some demented shit. The sunglasses were a nice touch… I mean honestly, did he think that would fucking work? And for how long? And let’s not gloss over the fact that he just slept beside his girlfriend’s dead body all night.

It takes a special kind of twisted, unfeeling ghoul to do this shit.

In a call to Preston’s grandmother after that macabre scene on Christmas morning, Wallace is quoted as saying Preston had hit her head and suffered a concussion, but had not yet woken up. Adding, that he believed he was “on his way to the penitentiary.”

Jimmy Fallon Reaction GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

When police arrived on the scene, they found Preston’s body slumped over in the living and bloodstains throughout the home, as well as doors knocked off their hinges – and the typical hallmark of an abusive relationship – punched holes in the drywall. You know, like a well-adjusted adult does.

Seriously, if your partner punches holes in walls or doors in your home, LEAVE NOW. I know you think that shit is normal, maybe you even make excuses in your mind like they’re just passionate and emotional, but I’m telling you it is not fucking normal. It’s the telltale sign of a fucked up human being who can’t be in a healthy relationship. Stop making excuses. Leave them.

I speak from experience.

William Wallace, 39, of Anaheim, California is pictured above. He was convicted of second degree murder on Wednesday for the 2011 killing of Za'Zell Preston, 26

Wallace was arrested that day on first-degree murder charges. His bail was set a $1-million, but obviously, nobody paid that.

In March 2021, nearly a decade after he was arrested, Wallace’s trial finally got underway. His version of events is that Preston was attacking him, biting him and hitting him, and she drunkenly stumbled onto the glass table. He had reached out to try and stop her but wasn’t able. He says the daughter saw him try to catch Preston, not push her as the daughter testified to at trial.

But like, he still slept beside a cold, dead body all night. You would know if the person sleeping beside you was dead. What was his thought, that he’d prop Preston up on Christmas morning so the kids could have a good time opening their presents before revealing the devastating news about their mother? Then why come out being like MOMMY RUINED CHRISTMAS! How is that vibing, man?

It’s not. This guy is a shit who can’t take responsibility. But whatever.

The jury didn’t buy his story either. Directed by the judge to consider a variety of charges for Wallace – from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder – the jury eventually returned a guilty of 2nd-degree murder verdict. Wallace, now 39, was sentenced to 15 years, with the 9+ years he’d already spent locked up waiting for trial taken into consideration. Meaning, as of this year, he’s served 2/3rds of his sentence.

Za’Zell Preston was killed by her husband in 2011.

Wallace did not speak at his trial or his sentencing hearing. Like, he couldn’t even say I’m sorry to the family. Tells you all you need to know about that waste of oxygen.

After the trial, Preston’s mother, Saidell Preston, spoke. “He beat and tortured my daughter and at the same time mentally assassinated her children… He showed her no mercy. Let’s show him no mercy.”

Saidell Preston is now the guardian of Za’Zell’s three children.

“William Wallace robbed us of her knowledge, wisdom and understanding… Za’Zell was an amazing and talented young woman, until (he) came along and took her from us forever,” Saidell Preston said at the sentencing hearing, according to the Orange County Register.

In an ironic twist, Za’Zell Preston was just weeks away from graduating college where she was studying to become a social worker with the hopes of working with victims of domestic abuse.

If you, or someone you know, is in a domestic violence situation and needs help I’m including a few linked resources below. If you have the chance, the opportunity, or the smallest spark of truth trying to be heard in your mind, please reach out.

Canada – Ending Violence

United States – The Hotline

United Kingdom – Refuge

Europe – Helplines

Domestic Violence Sexism GIF by Narcissistic Abuse Rehab

I know for many on the outside looking in, it’s easy to say, why didn’t she just leave?? But as someone who has experience with domestic violence, let me tell you, abusers have a way of destroying the strongest parts of you until you don’t recognize yourself; until you are making choices and excuses you would never make in your right mind.

Domestic violence is invasive, disorienting and isolating. It doesn’t require your judgement. It’s serious, and in too many cases, deadly serious.

As we go into the holiday season – a time of joy and hope and family and love – please remember there are people out there who do not feel safe in their own homes and think there is no escape, or that starting over is impossible, or that they’ve already invested too much time to give up now. I know all of those thoughts, too well.

All you need to do, if you suspect someone you know is being mistreated, is offer unconditional help.

Stay safe. Be Kind. But, take no shit.

Happy Holidays, Murderinos ✌️🔪

Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3 | Source 4

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