Feb 13, 2018, 3:12 PM ET

Murder suspect alleges teen put ad on Craigslist for a hit man to kill her

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The man accused of killing a Colorado teen in December said she placed an ad on Craigslist for a hit man to kill her because she wanted to die, according to court documents.

Joseph Lopez, who was arrested last Thursday and charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Natalie Bollinger, 19, told police he was looking through the "Women seeking Men" category on Craigslist "when he saw an unusual post titled, 'I want to put a hit on myself,'” according to the probable cause affidavit.

PHOTO: A murder suspect alleges a teenager placed a Craigslist ad for a hitman to kill her.Alex Segre/REX/Shutterstock
A murder suspect alleges a teenager placed a Craigslist ad for a hitman to kill her.

Lopez, 22, said he responded to the ad and, by 2 or 3 a.m. Dec. 28, he was emailing with the woman, who was later determined to be Bollinger, the affidavit said. They started texting later that morning and exchanged about 111 texts within three hours, the affidavit said.

Because he struggled with depression and suicide attempts, Lopez told police, he used "a fake persona of a hit man that he had created for himself," and said he talked to Bollinger using that persona to convince her he was a hit man and willing to help her commit suicide, the affidavit said.

Lopez explained to police that he has an app on his phone that lets him create "fantasy personas;" he said one of the 12 personas has a "charismatic" backstory who "can lure people in but then he turns 'psycho' and he strikes,'" the affidavit said.

PHOTO: A murder suspect alleges a teenager placed a Craigslist ad for a hitman to kill her.STOCK IMAGE/Getty Images
A murder suspect alleges a teenager placed a Craigslist ad for a hitman to kill her.

Over text, Lopez said, he used the persona "and agreed to meet her and kill/assist her in her suicide," according to the affidavit.

Lopez said they communicated about "how she wanted to be shot and killed and that she wanted it to happen 'quickly,'" the affidavit said. He said Bollinger said she "wanted to get on her knees and be executed from behind because she did not want to see the gun," according to the affidavit.

Lopez told investigators Bollinger asked how much it would cost for him to kill her and he said he told her "from hundreds to thousands. It just depends," the affidavit said.

Lopez said she asked whether he had a gun and he said no, so Bollinger allegedly offered to bring hers and said he could keep it to sell if he wanted, according to the affidavit.

Lopez said he got to her apartment around 11 a.m. or noon and in the car "they continued to talk about how her death would happen," the affidavit said. Lopez told police "he was only talking to her about it until he gained her trust and then he would try to convince her that it was a bad idea and that she shouldn't do it."

Lopez said Bollinger told him "she needed to get away from her boyfriend because he was bad for her," the affidavit said. Lopez also alleged that the woman appeared "upset" and told him about how she loved her boyfriend and "did not want to leave him or hurt him."

According to the affidavit, Lopez initially told police they drove to a few places for the shooting but Bollinger didn't like those spots, so he drove her home and dropped her off at a gas station; Lopez said that was the last time he had contact with her, the affidavit said.

Lopez later told police that at one point Bollinger got out of the car, pulled the gun out of her purse and held it to her temple; Lopez said he tried to talk her out of it but "before he could grab the gun from her she shot herself in the left temple causing her to fall backwards against the tree," the affidavit said.

He said he "panicked" and took her purse and gun and fled, the affidavit said.

PHOTO: Joseph Michael Lopez, 22, was held without bond pending a first-degree murder charge in the death of Natalie Bollinger, 19, of Broomfield, Colorado. Adams County Sheriffs Office
Joseph Michael Lopez, 22, was held without bond pending a first-degree murder charge in the death of Natalie Bollinger, 19, of Broomfield, Colorado.

Police then, according to the affidavit, told Lopez they knew the gun was between 1 and 3 feet away during the shooting and that, according to the autopsy, she was killed by someone else.

So Lopez changed his story and said the teen "convinced him to help her kill herself," the affidavit said.

Lopez told police they parked the car and walked over to the trees, knelt down and said a prayer together; he said, shaking, he held the gun with both hands, closed his eyes and fired one round hitting Bollinger in the head, the affidavit said.

Lopez told authorities he panicked, grabbed her purse, went home and hid the gun and purse in his trunk, the affidavit said.

Lopez's co-worker at Domino's Pizza told investigators he called in sick at 6 p.m. Dec. 28, an hour after he was supposed to arrive at work, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, the accused man said "it was eating away at him" and he had considered calling the police to confess.

Bollinger's father, Ted Bollinger, told ABC News his daughter today was a "good girl" who had a full scholarship to the University of Colorado-Boulder.

She was going to start this semester, he said.

Instead, he's now going to Lopez's court appearance Wednesday.

"We need to represent Natalie," he said.

Lopez has not yet entered a plea. His public defender did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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CComments

  • PrettySmart1

    Yeah, she's not talking. But does he think anyone in their right mind would choose him as a potential assassin?

  • Realpshep

    Im curious as to how they'll charge him.

  • RedSoxPatriotsCelticsBruinsFan

    without the texts hes got nothing, should be easy to get on his phone or hers.

  • Emma Lou #2

    the guy does not appear very intelligent in the picture.

  • Optimist-2618173

    So how did she get the gun? In Colorado, you need to be at least 21 to purchase from a licensed dealer, but only 18 to buy one via a private sale without a background check. Thus, she could have gone that route without breaking any laws. I'd love to hear the NRA's arguments in support of this illogical status quo.

  • xia

    Well I guess that makes it OK then.

  • Brian 9876

    This guy should be a screen writer.

  • NotA Lemming

    Next he's going to say that he was going to eat her but didn't have fava beans and a nice chianti...

  • Prophet With Honor

    Show me the ad.

  • drathvedar

    He is just as mentally screwed up as she was. Never let him walk free again.

  • ohyes2011

    Wow....would hate to be his attorney.

  • Puddin Tain

    hmm

  • David England

    Such a waste of a beautiful life. So sorry for her family. Such a loser to troll social media for victims to take advantage of, and then to lure and shoot her in her emotional state. He had the opportunity to contact authorities to help her in the time that he spent trying to gain her trust. I'm sure he will become the victim in prison.

  • Ann Banks

    So he's told three different versions of what happened that day, and the court is supposed to believe that the last story is the real story? I think there's one more version to be told and that's the one where he shot and killed her on his own, and then robbed her.