A man who was hired by a woman from Colorado to ‘kill her’ has been sentenced to 48 years in jail.
19-year-old Natalie Bollinger was shot in the head last December. Weeks earlier she had posted on Craigslist about a desire to have a hit man come and end her life.
Joseph Michael Lopez was initially charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Bollinger and was facing life in prison, but Lopez accepted a plea deal and plead guilty to second-degree murder to avoid the possibility of life in jail.
Bollinger disappeared almost a year ago on December 28, 2017.
The man accused of killing a teenager from Colorado pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Natalie Bollinger’s death. Joseph Lopez made the plea in court on Monday
Joseph Michael Lopez, 22, claimed Bollinger hired him through a Craigslist ad that said ‘I want to put a hit on myself.’
Her body was found a day later with a 9mm shell casing was found about five feet from her body.
The coroner’s office determined she had been killed by a single gunshot wound to the head but but could not rule out a possible suicide.
Lopez was arrested on February 8 and was charged with first-degree murder but his plea deal could see him being made eligible for parole – although it may be 48 years until that time.
In court, Lopez only served to confuse matters further by claiming Bollinger hired him through Craigslist to kill her.
Lopez alleged that the slain teen had posted an ad under the Women seeking Men section of Craigslist titled ‘I want to put a hit on myself’.
Lopez told police that 19-year-old Natalie Bollinger wanted to die and had posted a Craigslist ad seeking someone to kill her
Bollinger disappeared from her Broomfield home last Dec. 28 and her body was found, with gunshot wounds, in a field near Thornton a few days later
Bollinger’s step-mother Shelly Campbell also told Denver7 that she was unhappy with the plea deal
‘Lopez took her life,’ Campbell said. ‘He ended it. He had a choice. No matter what anyone says he pulled that trigger, he had a choice,’ she said
The Domino’s Pizza worker said he contacted Bollinger pretending to be a hit man and agreed to meet and kill her after a lengthy text conversation. Police said the pair had sent more than 100 text messages to each other the night Bollinger was reported missing.
Bollinger brought a gun with her, the affidavit said. Lopez told police she told him she was having problems with her boyfriend
The affidavit also stated that Bollinger’s boyfriend was the one who reported her missing telling police that his Glock 9 mm pistol had been removed from his home.
According to Lopez, he picked up Bollinger from her home on December 28 and she told him that she wanted to be killed ‘on her knees … executed from behind’. He also said they discussed how he would be paid.
Bollinger, Lopez said, brought her own gun.
As the pair allegedly drove around looking for a location for the shooting, Lopez said he tried to talk her out of it but she insisted she wanted to follow through with the killing saying she was having issues with her boyfriend.
The affidavit states that Lopez told detectives he changed his mind about killing the teen and dropped her back off at her apartment. After investigators told him his GPS placed him at the site her body was found Lopez finally admitted to pulling the trigger.
He said before he shot Bollinger they both got down on their knees and prayed. Lopez then said he closed his eyes as he fired a single shot.
Bollinger’s autopsy report said she had a lethal amount of heroin in her blood, and that she appeared to have a history of heroin and methamphetamine use.
‘There’s no justice in this,’ dad Ted Bollinger said to Denver7. ‘And for Adams County to have enough evidence to convict him and then make him an offer is a spit in my family’s face.’
Lopez initially told investigators he drove around trying to talk Bollinger out of her plan, and then brought Bollinger back to her home
By sheer coincidence, Bollinger is also being held at the same facility as Lopez due to parole violations of his own.
‘They messed up by putting me in here, because I got clarity in a lot of different things in my daughter’s case,’ Bollinger said. ‘Joseph talked to too many people. He confided in too many people.’
‘My children could watch him walk out of prison,’ Bollinger said. ‘That is not justice. I will not see my daughter again, I will never get to speak to my daughter again.’
Bollinger’s step-mother Shelly Campbell also told Denver7 that she was unhappy with the plea deal.
‘Lopez took her life,’ Campbell said. ‘He ended it. He had a choice. No matter what anyone says he pulled that trigger, he had a choice. If there’s one thing I would tell Natalie if I only got one thing to say is… I’d probably tell her that no rock would go unturned. I promised her.’
Bollinger lived in Colorado, Rhode Island and Virginia, according to her obituary. She attended Churchland High School and had recently enrolled in college to become a registered nurse