ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — On Friday, a disposition hearing was set for Joseph Lopez, the man charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a teenager, indicating that a plea deal may be coming soon.
Lopez will likely now face second-degree murder, avoiding the first-degree charge and possibility of life in prison.
Natalie Bollinger was 19 when she disappeared on December 28, 2017. Her body was found a day later on Riverdale Road in an unincorporated part of Adams County. A 9mm shell casing was found about 5 feet from her body, according to a previous Denver7 report.
The coroner’s office determined that she had been killed by a single gunshot wound to the head and ruled it could not have been a suicide.
Lopez was arrested on Feb. 8 and was charged with first-degree murder. Authorities said Lopez told three different stories about what happened. In court, Lopez claimed that the 19-year-old hired him through Craigslist to kill her.
After the disposition hearing was set on Friday, Ted Bollinger, Natalie’s father, sat at a picnic table outside. His family had hoped Lopez would not see a plea deal.
“I will never agree to or submit to anything lesser than his life sentence,” he said. “He took my baby’s life.”
#BREAKING: Judge sets disposition hearing in Joseph Lopez case, indicating plea deal. Lopez claims Natalie Bollinger, 19, hired him through Craigslist to kill her. Family says plea deal takes 1st degree murder off table & Lopez to plead guilty to lesser 2nd degree murder charge. pic.twitter.com/RNTAvpTWHL
— Russell Haythorn (@RussellHaythorn) November 2, 2018