Betty Willis, 76, 1960s soul singer -- allegedly killed by homeless rapist
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That Derek
2018-01-05 22:44:21 UTC


1 day ago

Homeless man charged with murdering ex-60s soul singer during attempted rape

By Kathleen Joyce | Fox News

A homeless man was charged with killing former 1960s soul singer Betty Jane Willis during an attempted rape in California on New Year’s Day.

Rosendo Xo Pec, 22, was charged Wednesday with murder with special circumstances and could face the death penalty. His arraignment is slated for Jan. 19.

Prosecutors identified the woman killed in the Santa Ana strip mall parking lot as Willis, who was homeless at the time of her death.

Willis, 76, recorded the 1960s songs “Someday You’ll Need My Love,” “Act Naturally” and “Take My Heart.”

The former crooner was sleeping in the parking lot when Pec began sexually assaulting her, prosecutors said. When she screamed for help, prosecutors said Pec repeatedly punched her in the head and choked her to stop her screams.

A bystander called police to alert them to the alleged assault and when officers arrived they found Pec with “his pants down on top of the victim,” ABC 7 reported. The homeless man attempted to flee but was captured by officers. The former singer died at the scene.


Willis worked at the Santa Ana post office following her singing career but appeared to have gone through hardships and became homeless, ABC 7 reported. During her career, Willis recorded collaborations with the Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley and Leon Russell.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
2018-01-06 02:47:18 UTC
Post by That Derek
Reading this left me speechless. A 76 year poor old woman sleeping in a
parking lot. Raped and beaten down to death by the random wind of Evil...
That Derek
2018-01-06 15:43:25 UTC
I looked Betty Willis up in my reference books and it seems she never charted on Billboard, Cashbox, nor Record World in the 1960s. Maybe on the R&B charts (I do not have Joel Whitburn's R&B/Top 100 tome).

When I punched her name into YouTube, her top-listed hit was "Ain't Gonna Do You No Good"

Here are links to the other songs mentioned in the article:

Someday You'll Need My Love

Act Naturally

Take My Heart

Ms. Willis does have a satisfying voice, but it really was not unlike all the female singers Motown, Atlantic, and Stax/Volt were giving us contemporaneously. Check out her cover of Buck Owens's "Act Naturally," which was popularized on the pop charts by SIR Ringo Starr. Lord, could she over-sing!

Regardless of her talents, it is truly sad that a second-tier soul singer and a USPS veteran was reduced to being homeless, sleeping in parking lots, and being vulnerable to sexual predators.

I'm thinking that some sort of showbiz charity might have assisted her with living arrangements. However, I am not familiar with Ms. Willis's situation that brought about this heinous tragedy.