Joseph Michael Lopez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for his role in the death of a Colorado teenager whom Lopez said hired him off the internet to kill her, KDVR reported.
The 23-year-old man faces 48 years in prison plus five years on probation in a plea deal for the killing of 19-year-old Natalie Bollinger in December of 2017, according to the station.
Bollinger’s father was outraged at the outcome.
“There’s no justice in this,” he said, according to Denver 7. “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. My children could watch him walk out of prison.”
Bollinger had faced a charge of first-degree murder, according to CBS Denver.
“What we took, we took because that was the most we could probably get without a jury agreeing 100 percent, because that’s what it would have taken for first-degree murder and life in prison,” Natalie’s grandmother Denise Stuart said, according to the station.
Bollinger vanished in December of 2017 before her body was found a day later with a gunshot wound to the head, the Denver Post reported. Police tracked down Lopez through Bollinger’s phone records, and arrested him a week later before charging him with first-degree murder, according to the paper.
Police said Lopez told them he responded to a Craigslist ad on the “women seeking men” section of the website that said “I want to put a hit on myself,” the Broomfield Enterprise reported. Lopez said that was the first time he and Bollinger had met, according to the paper.
The two began to text, then he picked her up on Dec. 28 and drove her around before he said she “knelt down on the ground and that he knelt down along her left side and slightly in front of her,” they said a prayer, and he pulled the trigger, police said in an affidavit obtained by Denver 7.
Police said Lopez told them he had tried to talk her out of it, but that she wanted to go through with it because she was having problems with her boyfriend, according to KDVR. Lopez took the gun and her purse and left the scene after it was done, according to the station.
Her body was found with critically high levels of heroin in her blood, according to the Denver Post.
“Natalie Bollinger was a 19-year-old girl with her whole life ahead of her. The defendant was a predator. He didn’t respond as a human being. He responded as a predator,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Ally Baber said, according to 9News.
“He had hours and hours of opportunity to do the right thing and save her life, but he chose to murder her,” Baber said, according to the Broomfield Enterprise.
“You took advantage of my daughter,” Bollinger’s father said at sentencing, according to Denver 7. “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.”