Monday, 12 February 2018

Man arrested for Killing 19-year-old girl claims she hired him through Craigslist to kill her

A man arrested in a shooting death of 19-year-old girl, Natalie Bollinger,  claims she hired him to kill her after he answered her Craigslist ad titled “I want to put a hit on myself," according to a newly released affidavit.

ABC-7 reports that Joseph Michael Lopez, 22, was arrested Thursday evening and booked into the Adams County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of the Broomfield teen.

According to the police affidavit, investigators found more than 100 text messages between the two on the night she was reported missing.

Natalie was reported missing days after receiving a protection order against a man she alleged was harassing her. She was found dead in a wooded area late last year.

She died from a single gunshot wound to the head and had a “potentially lethal level of heroin" in her system at the time of her death, according to an autopsy.

Adams County Sheriff Michael McIntosh calls Lopez the sole suspect but said the case is ongoing.

He said at a news conference on Friday: "Just because we have a suspect in custody, doesn’t mean the investigation is over."

In the interview room, Lopez told investigators that sometime after Christmas, he came upon a strange ad he claims Bollinger had posted titled “I want to put a hit on myself” while he was perusing the “Woman seeking Men” category on Craigslist, the affidavit said.

Lopez would go on to claim he contacted Bollinger using a fake hit man persona, agreeing to meet her and kill her after a lengthy text conversation, according to the document.

The affidavit continues and states that Lopez arranged to pick up Bollinger from her Broomfield apartment on December 28. He told detectives after he picked Bollinger up, they discussed how he would be paid and how Bollinger allegedly wanted to be killed, “on her knees… executed from behind,” according to the police document. Lopez said Bollinger brought her own gun.

Lopez said he tried to talk her out of the arrangement as they drove around looking for a location for the shooting, but she was firm in her decision to end her life because of issues she had with boyfriend, Lopez claims in the affidavit.

Lopez initially told investigators that he did not go through with the alleged plan. Instead, he dropped the victim off back at her apartment. He later told detectives that Bollinger shot herself. But after he was confronted with GPS data from his phone placing him at the scene where the teen’s body was found, he admitted to pulling the trigger, the document states.

According to the affidavit, Lopez admitted to shooting and killing Bollinger with a single gunshot to the head. He said Bollinger “knelt down on the ground and that he knelt down along her left side and slightly in front of her.” He then claims they both said a prayer, he got up, closed his eyes and shot the teen. He then took off with Bollinger’s purse and the gun, which he said was still in his trunk.

The autopsy report notes Bollinger had a "history of heroin and methamphetamine use," after revealing she died from gunfire. Lopez told investigators that at no time did "they have or consumer any type of drugs."

During the investigation, deputies talked to several of Bollinger’s friends and family members, and some indicated she had a history of suicidal thoughts, according to police documents. Others said she was very happy and was looking forward to attending school.

The police document points out that the text message conversation, a total of 111, from December 28 found on the victim's phone was from an unknown number, which was later linked back to Lopez.

In court, legal analysts say, it may not matter whether Bollinger asked for a hit or not.

"Even if she asked for assistance, if he's the one who pulled the trigger, it's still murder," said David Beller, a Denver7 legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, who said attorneys will likely discuss whether a shorter sentance than life without parole would be appropriate. "If this is something that the victim was pursuing and asking for, it doesn't alleviate his legal responsibility, but it certainly mitigates it."

Lopez remains behind bars on first-degree murder charges. A bond has not been set.

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