On Wednesday (Jan. 3), 22-year-old Rosendo Xo Pec was charged for the murder of former 60s soul singer Betty Jane Willis. She was 76 years old.

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Allegedly, Willis was living on the streets of Santa Ana, California for an unknown period of time. Shortly after 4 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Pec, who is reportedly a homeless man, attacked and made an attempt to rape the once soul singer.

According to prosecutors, she was sleeping in a parking lot of a strip mall when Pec attacked her. As she yelled for help, he proceeded to silence her by repeatedly punching her in the head and choking her. In the event, Willis died on the scene.


The Associated Press reports Pec has been charged with murder “with special circumstances” and may face the death penalty.

Betty Jane Willis was best known for her 1960s recordings “Someday You’ll Need My Love,” “Ain’t Gonna Do You No Good,” and “Act Naturally.”