“I am guilty,” Williams, 56, said in court via a video feed from the Ottawa County Jail. “I admit that I murdered (her).”
Judge Bradley Knoll advised Williams of his right to remain silent, and Williams responded that he did not want that right.
Williams is accused of stabbing Latham, who was his girlfriend, to death at her home in the 200 block of West 14th Street in Holland at about 1:30 p.m. Monday. He then allegedly fled the scene with a knife in a Toyota 4Runner, causing police to alert the public that Williams was armed and dangerous.
He was eventually arrested by the Michigan State Police shortly after 6 p.m. at the Family Fare on South Washington Avenue in Holland.
While Williams verbally spoke of his guilt, he did not enter a formal plea with the court. As such, Williams will go through the trial process, rather than being immediately sentenced to a prison term.
His next court date is a probable cause conference on Oct. 25 before Knoll at the 58th District Court in Holland. Williams has been charged with open murder, which carries a life sentence in prison should he be found guilty.
Williams is a registered Tier 3 sex offender in Michigan. He has a criminal history that includes assault, failing to register as a sex offender, criminal sexual conduct, larceny and disorderly fighting. He was charged with domestic violence in 1994, but the charge was dismissed. Most recently, Williams pleaded no contest to an assault or assault and battery charge, along with a charge of assaulting, battering or resisting a police officer from Sept. 7 of last year.
Latham was a mother of three children — ages 11, 9 and an infant. The two oldest children live with their father, and the infant is in foster care.
The New Community Fourth Reformed Church, 238 W. 15th St. in Holland, is holding a prayer service for Latham from 7-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16. Homily and prayer will begin at 7 p.m., with pastors available during the hour for those who wish to come and go as needed.
The service is “for anyone who would like to come and pray, be prayed for, or just remember, grieve and mourn together the loss of Crystal Latham to our neighborhood,” said Lori Clark, the church’s administrative assistant.