- Joseph Lopez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Natalie Bollinger.
- Bollinger’s body was found with a gunshot wound to the head in a wooded area north of Denver, Colorado, in December 2017.
- Lopez said he shot Bollinger after finding a Craigslist ad he claimed she posted asking for someone to kill her.
- Prosecutors said Lopez should have called police or gotten Bollinger help.
A Colorado man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after telling police he shot a 19-year-old woman in the head after she hired him on Craigslist to kill her.
Joseph Lopez, 23, entered a plea deal with prosecutors after initially being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Natalie Bollinger, of Broomfield, Colorado, in December of last year, according to WLKY.
Bollinger’s body was found in a wooded area north of Denver on December 29, 2017, a day after she was reported missing.
According to court records seen by KDVR, Lopez told police he had responded to a Craigslist ad titled “I want to put a hit on myself,” that he said was created by Bollinger.
Lopez said he found the ad in the “women seeking men” category of Craigslist.
An arrest affidavit said that Bollinger had a history of methamphetamine and heroine use, and at the time of her death had a “potentially lethal level of heroin on the blood.”
He told police that Bollinger asked him to shoot her, but he tried to change her mind.
The pair had texted each other dozens of times before meeting and they drove around for “an extended period” before Bollinger’s death, prosecutors said.
When Lopez realised he wouldn’t be able change Bollinger’s mind, he parked the car they were driving in and shot her, according to court documents.
He said he knelt down in front of Bollinger and they said a prayer together before he shot her with the gun Lopez claimed Bollinger provided.
An autopsy revealed that Bollinger died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
After shooting the teen, Lopez left the scene with Bollinger’s purse and the gun, according to court records.
Prosecutors said Lopez should have called 911 after finding Bollinger’s Craigslist ad.
“He didn’t respond as a human being,” chief deputy district attorney Ally Barber told WLKY. “He responded as a predator.”
During an interview with investigators, Lopez said he had a journal in high school that included fictional stories of kidnapping, torturing and executing people, according to The Denver Post.
Due to the plea deal, Lopez will now spend a maximum of 48 years in prison, instead of the possible life sentence that a first-degree murder charge carries.
At Lopez’s sentencing, Bollinger’s father, Ted Bollinger, accused Lopez of taking advantage of his daughter.
“She was vulnerable and drugged,” he said. “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.”
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