Colorado Man Could Spend 48 years Behind Bars for Killing Young Woman Who Hired Him to Do It
DENVER, COLORADO – December 4, 2018
Joseph Michael Lopez plead guilty in a Colorado court to killing Natalie Bollinger, 19, with a firearm. He has been sentenced to 48 years in jail for a job well done--the young woman had hired him online to kill her.
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. In her message she pointed out that she would provide the weapon and gave instructions on the procedure to be followed: a bullet in the back of the neck, so as not to see the weapon, and then to pray. She even chose a field near her house to carry out the plan.
The body of Bollinger, in whose blood was identified a "potentially fatal dose" of heroin, was found a day after the warning was published and at first the police treated it as a possible suicide, since the young woman was talking about killing herself, apparently because of being unemployed. The family rejected that possibility.
A subsequent analysis of the victim's phone found that on the day of the incident, she exchanged more than a hundred text messages with Lopez.After reviewing the defendant's phone, investigators located the scene and the approximate time that the crime allegedly occurred.
Lopez was arrested on February 8. The affidavit states that he 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.
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.
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.
Natalie's father, Ted Bollinger, was able to speak in court at the sentencing hearing on Monday morning.
He told the judge he did not agree with the plea deal offered to Lopez because he didn't believe it was justice.
At the sentencing, he said his daughter was an artist, deeply emotional and passionate. She loved nature, he said.
“You took advantage of my daughter,” he said. “She was vulnerable and drugged... You premeditated. Brutally shot and killed my baby. I asked for an eye for an eye. You have been protected. The Bollinger family had no say in this. This is a deal with the devil.”
Joseph Michael Lopez was initially charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Bollinger and was facing life in prison, but he accepted a plea deal and plead guilty to second-degree murder to avoid the possibility of life in jail.
“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 said 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.”