Man Sentenced to 48 Years in Natalie Bollinger Homicide
Joseph Michael Lopez, a man accused of fatally shooting Broomfield’s Natalie Bollinger, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced Monday to 48 years in prison.
Bollinger, 19, was first reported missing on Dec. 28, 2017. Her body was found two days later in the 11600 block of Riverdale Road in Adams County with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Lopez, 23, eventually told investigators that he shot her after responding to an ad she had placed on Craigslist looking for someone to kill her.
“Natalie Bollinger was a 19-year-old girl with her whole life ahead of her. The defendant was a predator,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Ally Baber said at the sentencing hearing.
She said when Lopez saw Bollinger’s post on Craigslist, he didn’t call 911 nor did he seek help on her behalf.
“He didn’t respond as a human being. He responded as a predator,” Baber said. The two exchanged dozens of text message before he picked her up and then drove around for an extended period of time before he killed her, Baber said.
“He had hours and hours of opportunity to do the right thing and save her life, but he chose to murder her,” Baber said.
Lopez was charged with first-degree murder after deliberation and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a maximum sentence of 48 years in prison, which Adams County District Judge Roberto Ramirez imposed.
Adams County sheriff’s investigators allege that Lopez initially denied seeing Bollinger die. He then changed his story to say she killed herself before telling police that he killed her because she wanted someone to help her commit suicide.
Lopez was arrested Feb. 8 on suspicion of first-degree murder in of Bollinger’s death..
Investigators say Lopez told them that he exchanged text messages with Bollinger during which she expressed a desire to be “executed” from behind and offered to bring her own firearm. Lopez told police that he intended to meet up with Bollinger and convince her not to kill herself, the affidavit stated.
He told police that he picked Bollinger up several hours later, but Bollinger couldn’t find a suitable place to commit suicide, so he took her home after the two drove around together.
After police confronted Lopez with information taken from phone records that showed his phone had been in the area where Bollinger’s body was located, they say he changed his story.
He told police that Bollinger asked him to stop the car, which she exited and walked to a wooded area where she knelt down and shot herself over his pleas that she not go through with it.
Lopez told police that he panicked, took the gun and Bollinger’s purse and fled the scene.
He eventually told police that Bollinger finally convinced him to kill her, so they pulled over and walked to a wooded area. He said Bollinger knelt down, said a prayer and then he shot her in the head.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios