‘There is no justice in this': Natalie Bollinger's family speaks out on potential plea

Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-01 19:20:54-05

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo -- The man accused of killing 19-year-old Natalie Bollinger will be sentenced in Adams County on Monday.

But Joseph Michael Lopez, the man initially charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Bollinger, may have accepted a plea deal, Bollinger's father told Denver7.  

Lopez is expected to plead guilty to second-degree murder, avoiding the first-degree charge and the 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 five 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.

Leading up to the sentencing on Monday, Ted Bollinger spoke with Denver7 and said he is not happy with the plea agreement.

“There’s no justice in this,” Bollinger said. “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.”

Bollinger, who is being held at the Adams County jail due to parole violations, told Denver7 he was in the same facility as Lopez.

“They messed up by putting me in here, because I got clarity in a lot of different things in my daughter’s case,” Bollinger said. “Joseph talked to too many people. He confided in too many people.”

According to Bollinger, the plea deal could make Lopez eligible for parole.

“My children could watch him walk out of prison,” Bollinger said. “That is not justice. I will not see my daughter again, I will never get to speak to my daughter again.”

Natalie Bollinger’s step-mother Shelly Campbell also spoke with Denver7 on Saturday before the sentencing, expressing her discontent at the potential plea deal.   

“[Lopez] took her life,” Campbell said. “He ended it. He had a choice. No matter what anyone says he pulled that trigger, he had a choice. If there’s one thing I would tell Natalie if I only got one thing to say is... I’d probably tell her that no rock would go unturned. I promised her.”

Lopez will be sentenced on Monday at 9 a.m. at the Adams County Courthouse. As for Ted Bollinger, he told Denver7 he is currently looking at getting an attorney to continue to fight for justice for Natalie.