Retired soul songstress Betty Jane Willis, 76, was killed during an attempted rape New Years Day by 22-year-old Rosendo Xo Pec.

CBS News reports 22-year-old Rosendo Xo Pec, who is homeless, has been charged in her death.

Willis, who was also living on the streets at the time of her death, was attacked by Pec outside of a strip mall in Santa Ana, CA.

Pec, who is currently in police custody, attempted to sexually assault the 76-year-old. When she began yelling for help, he punched her repeatedly and choked her. A bystander who witnessed the assault called the police immediately. When cops arrived they found Pec on top of Willis, with his pants down. He attempted to flee the scene to no avail. Willis, unfortunately, was dead when cops arrived.

Pec is being charged with murder with a special circumstance of attempted rape.

Willis was most active in the music business throughout the 1960s. Her most popular songs were “Someday, You’ll Need My Love,” “Act Naturally” and “Take My Heart.” Her music career came to a halt when she gave birth to her first child and became a postal worker until retiring in the 1990s. A former friend and colleague of Willis, Anthony Reichardt, took to Facebook to remember the late singer:

Pec may face he death penalty.