By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — An Anaheim man prosecutors say killed his wife on Christmas Day, then propped her body on a couch while her children opened their presents, was convicted Wednesday of second-degree murder.

William Wallace, 39, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 4 and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

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Wallace was indicted by a grand jury in 2012 for one felony count of murder in the killing of his wife, 26-year-old Zazell Preston. Prosecutors say he hit Preston in the head, rendering her unconscious, and later called 911 to report she was in need of medical attention. Preston was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at a hospital.

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Police say Wallace previously spent time in jail for beating his wife, who had been taking college classes in the hopes of becoming a domestic violence counselor. Her children, 3-year-old and 8-year-old daughters from a previous relationship and a 7-week-old son she shared with Wallace, were in the apartment at the time of the murder.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said it was already tragic that a young mother had lost her life after years of violence at the hands of her husband.

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“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,” Spitzer said in a statement.