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Man Who Killed Wife, Propped Up Body As Kids Opened Christmas Presents Is Sentenced

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A California man who killed his wife and propped up her dead body on the couch Christmas morning in 2011 was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Friday, according to reports.

William Wallace, 39, of Anaheim, was sentenced Friday after he was convicted of second-degree murder for killing his 26-year-old wife Za’Zell Preston, according to The Orange County Register.

“He beat and tortured my daughter and at the same time mentally assassinated her children,” Preston’s mother Saidell said during the sentencing, according to the report. “He showed her no mercy. Let’s show him no mercy.”

Saidell, who is in custody of Preston’s three children, said her daughter was about to graduate from college and had been studying domestic violence with hopes to become a counselor, according to the report.

“William Wallace robbed us of her knowledge, wisdom and understanding,” Saidell reportedly said. “Za’Zell was an amazing and talented young woman, until (he) came along and took her from us forever.”

The incident unfolded in December 2011, when Wallace and Preston got into an argument. (RELATED: Suspect Arrested In ‘Gruesome’ Slaying Of 3 Kids, Woman)

“This Christmas story does not have a happy ending, and unfortunately this is not just a story, it is real life,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown told jurors in March, according to The Orange County Register.

The couple went to a party on Christmas Eve before an argument broke out. Preston’s oldest daughter told prosecutors she saw Preston fall into a glass table and then helped Wallace pull the glass out of her body. Wallace then took Preston to the bathroom before he dropped her and knocked her head into the toilet, The Orange County Register reported.

The next morning Wallace propped Preston on the couch and put sunglasses on her, ordering Preston’s two daughters to open presents, according to the report. Wallace told the girls Preston was drunk and “ruined Christmas.”

Wallace was found guilty of killing his wife in April, CBS Los Angeles reported. He had been serving jail time for nine years for an earlier beating, according to The Orange County Register.