*It was on New Year’s Day that police found the lifeless body of a 76-year-old homeless woman in a California parking lot.
When they arrived at the scene, a man was laying on top of her…with his pants down.
The woman was later identified as Betty Jane Willis — a soul singer in the 60s, who was best known for her songs, “Someday You’ll Need My Love,” “Act Naturally,” and “Take My Heart.”
Scroll down to hear her music.
According to a press release on the Orange County District Attorney’s website, Willis was sleeping in the parking lot of a Santa Ana mall around 4:15 a.m. on Monday when Rosendo Xo Pec, 22, also homeless, sexually assaulted her.
“The attack happened near a homeless encampment,” Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna told the Orange County Patch.
As Willis began to scream, Pec is accused of choking her and punching her multiple times in the head to prevent her from calling for help, the district attorney’s press release stated.
A witness called 911 when they heard Willis screaming for help, and officers arrived on the scene to find Pec on top of the victim with his pants down.
Pec then reportedly ran from the police and tried to jump a nearby wall but officers quickly detained and arrested him close to the crime scene.
Pec has been charged with one count of murder, with the special circumstance allegation that he killed the victim during a rape, reported the Los Angeles Times. If Pec is convicted, he will face a maximum life sentence with no chance of parole.
Read what Willis’ family was doing to help her here.
Below, listen to Willis’ recording of her song, Act Naturally.