Son of Wyoming murder victim: ‘Why did he take my mommy?’

LaDale Williams-Nelson's mug shot. (Wyoming Department of Public Safety)

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A man accused of killing his girlfriend in Wyoming on New Year’s Day was formally charged on Wednesday.

LaDale Williams-Nelson, 37, was arraigned in 62nd District Court on open murder, domestic violence, interfering with electronic communications (911) and felony weapon charges in connection to the death of his girlfriend, 25-year-old Leticia Vela.

Leticia Vela
Photo: An undated courtesy photo of Leticia Vela.

Vela’s family was also in court Wednesday, filled with questions about what led to the crime.

“Her son ask(s) me every day, ‘Why did he take my mommy?’ And I can’t answer him,” said Vela’s sister, Irene Perez.

The shooting happened at the couple’s home in the 2100 block of Lee Street SW early Monday morning.

According to court documents obtained by 24 Hour News 8, someone saw Williams-Nelson punching, choking and holding Vela against the wall by her throat before he pulled out a pistol, put it against her face and shot her.

“Why’d he do it? Why did he… couldn’t walk away? Why didn’t he let my sister walk away when she tried to leave? Why did you do that to her?” Perez asked.

Williams-Nelson allegedly left the home on foot after the shooting, but was found a mile away from the house. Nearby, police recovered a weapon, which was reported stolen out of Kentwood in 2016.

In court Wednesday, Williams-Nelson asked the judge to set a bond.

“So I could at least say goodbye to my kids,” he explained.

It’s a sentiment Perez pointed out she will never get with her sister.

“You want to say goodbye to your kids. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my sister,” she said.

Judge Pablo Cortes ultimately denied Williams-Nelson’s request.

“Right now, you’re still presumed not guilty so… just let things play out and worry about the goodbyes later, OK?” the judge said.

Williams-Nelson remains at the Kent County Correctional Facility. Because of his past felony convictions, another felony conviction would carry a double maximum sentence.

Williams-Nelson is expected back in court on Jan. 7.