A 22-year-old homeless man was charged Wednesday in the murder and attempted rape of a 76-year-old woman who was sleeping in a strip mall parking lot in Santa Ana.
The woman was identified as 1960s soul singer Betty Jane Willis, who recorded the songs “Someday You’ll Need My Love,” “Act Naturally” and “Take My Heart.”
In the early morning hours on New Year’s Day, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office, Rosendo Xo Pec approached Willis and removed her blanket before sexually assaulting her.
Prosecutors allege that Pec punched her multiple times in the head and choked her when she cried for help.
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