Craigslist ‘hitman’ who killed 19-year-old Colorado girl enters into plea agreement

Craigslist 'hitman' who killed 19-year-old Colorado girl enters into plea agreement

Joseph Michael Lopez

To briefly recap the murder of 19-year-old Natalie Bollinger from  Broomfield, Colorado, reportedly, the despondent Bollinger took out an ad on craigslist last year asking someone to kill her. Friends say that Natalie Bollinger had mental health issues and was suicidal along with having a drug habit.

That does not excuse 22-year-old Joseph Michael Lopez from what he did. Lopez responded to the ad and had no problem shooting Natalie in the head with a gun that she supposedly provided. Further evidence that people who troll craigslist for such ads are a bizarre breed.

Unfortunately, last month prosecutors offered Lopez a plea deal that would spare him a sentence of life without parole.  This went against the wishes of Natalie’s family, however, I speculated that the plea deal was offered because the unusual nature of Natalie’s murder may have caused a jury to have had some reasonable doubt about a conviction.

Earlier this month, Lopez entered into the plea deal, pleading guilty to second-degree murder. He was then subsequently sentenced to 48-years behind bars. Again, in a perfect world, Lopez should have been sentenced to death for indifferently fulfilling the wishes of a mentally ill and vulnerable woman, His behavior was nothing short of sociopathic and if justice were to be truly served then Lopez would never enjoy a breath of outside air ever again.

Illinois craigslist killer resentenced

Illinois craigslist killer resentenced

Timothy Smith

In 2011, Timothy Smith of Woodstock, Illinois,  shot and killed 48-year-old Kurt Milliman. Smith was prostituting his wife on craigslist out of their home and Milliman allegedly got to rough with Smith’s wife. Smith jumped out of hiding and shot Milliman. The couple tried concocting a home invasion story to try to hide their activity. However, investigators saw through the ruse and Smith was convicted of murder in 2013 and sentenced to 50 years behind bars.

In 2015, Smith was granted a new trial on the grounds that the judge at his trial did not allow an involuntary manslaughter charge to be considered by the jury.  It was to no avail, however, as late last month, Smith was once again sentenced to 50 years behind bars for a conviction of first-degree murder. Smith has to serve his entire sentence without the possibility of parole.

Townville Elementary gunman pleads guilty to school shooting and murder of father

Townville Elementary gunman pleads guilty to school shooting and murder of father

To be honest I haven’t been paying too much attention to what’s been going on with the Townville Elementary school shooting lately. For those of you who may not remember, back in September of 2016, 14-year-old Jesse Osborne shot and killed his father, 47-year-old Jeffrey Dewitt Osborne, before taking his father’s truck and driving it to the school.

Osborne opened fire on the school and struck three students before his gun jammed. Tragically, 6-year-old Jacob Hall died from his injuries days after the shooting. The last bit of news I heard about the shooting before this post was back in April of this year when it was announced that Osborne was being charged as an adult.

Fast forward to yesterday when it was made public that the now 16-year-old Osborne has pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. Since he’s been charged as an adult, Osborne is facing a potential maximum sentence of two life sentences without the possibility of parole, plus 90 years. Prosecutors have no intentions of cutting him any deals either.  Tenth Circuit Solicitor David Wagner said the following…

“The State will not be entering into any plea deals with Jesse Osborne. I am seeking the maximum sentence in this case, life without parole, which is the appropriate sentence for the murder of six-year-old Jacob Hall, and the attempted murders of his classmates and teachers.”

For all of those who may be sympathetic towards Osborne and say that the sentence is too tough, save your sympathy for Jacob Hall who didn’t even know his attacker and spent his last remaining days in a hospital bleeding to death.

Osborne is expected to sentenced sometime in Spring or Summer of 2019.

Colorado mother killed in domestic violence shooting

Colorado mother killed in domestic violence shooting

Thomas Jackson

Back in October, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office responded to the home of Thomas and Courtney Jackson. Thomas Jackson told deputies that his wife was suicidal but Courtney Jackson denied the allegation. Previously, deputies had been to the home in Falcon, Colorado, in prior weeks due to the Jacksons accusing each other of domestic assault. Unfortunately, deputies claim they did not have sufficient evidence to make an arrest. Sadly, the night after the suicide allegations, deputies would be returning to the home as Courtney laid dead from a gunshot wound.

The night of the shooting Thomas Jackson called 911 once again claiming his wife was suicidal and that his wife shot herself during the call. No gunshots were heard during the 911 call. Courtney Jackson had sustained two gunshots to the head with the coroner stating that either gunshot could have killed her. This led deputies to arrest Thomas Jackson and charge him with first-degree murder under the belief that Jackson allegedly shot his wife after she threatened to leave him. He is being held without bond.

I have no tolerance for domestic abusers, or as we used to call them back in my day, wife-beaters before that became an ironic name for a type of undershirt. Most of my childhood was spent witnessing domestic violence on an all too regular basis. As I’ve stated before, my father used to beat my mother usually after a night of his excessive drinking. No one outside the home ever knew. Not extended members of my family, not the neighbors, no one. I lived in fear of my father because of his treatment of my mom. It’s only by the grace of God that she wasn’t killed even though she never left him. They were separated at times but my mom would always go back. I don’t know what caused it but one day my dad never beat my mom again and she stayed with him until his death. However, my dad is the exception to the rule. The majority of abusers never change and will never stop.

There’s also another victim in all of this and that’s Courtney Jackson’s 9-year-old daughter. Thanks to the actions of an insecure coward her mother is dead and her father will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Luckily, if that word can even be used in this manner, from what I understand, she has loving grandparents to take care of her but losing your parents in any capacity is devastating especially at such a young age.

If you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, even once, get out of the relationship as fast as you can even if it’s with just the clothes on your back. It doesn’t matter if they say it won’t happen again or they say they love you, they will continue to abuse you. If you can’t reach out to a friend or family member to help please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or at their website at https://www.thehotline.org/.

(Sources)

Colorado Springs Gazette 1
KKTV
Colorado Springs Gazette 2

***

If you or someone you know lives in a small town or neighborhood and knows of a crime that you think deserves more attention than it’s getting, please contact me.

12-year-old unsolved arson murder of 8-year-old girl

12-year-old unsolved arson murder of 8-year-old girl

Mackenzie Branham

After receiving this story from friend of the site UberSpork, I was hesitant about posting this story. Passions seem to be high in the area where the crime took place and there has been a lot of drama surrounding it. I was afraid of inviting some of that drama on to the site but I decided to go ahead with the post anyway because at the heart of it a little girl’s murder has gone unsolved for 12-years.

In 2006, in Jeffersonville, Ohio, 8-year-old Mackenzie Branham died in a fire at her mother’s home that investigators ruled as arson. Mackenzie’s mother and her boyfriend were able to escape the blaze but claimed the fire was too intense to save Mackenzie. Since the fire, no arrests have been made and last year it was made public that evidence in the case that potentially contained DNA evidence was destroyed three months into the investigation and was never reported. Specifically, the clothes Mackenzie was wearing the night of the fire had been destroyed and Mackenzie’s father, Donald Branham,  didn’t find this out until last year. That’s 11-years without knowing that evidence that could potentially identify your daughter’s killer had been destroyed.

There are other aspects and accusations of the story that I’m not comfortable getting into since while they are feasible the accusations have not been legally been proven. However, it should be mentioned that Donald Branham has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

A child’s murder, especially one in such a horrific manner, should not go unsolved this long.

Anyone with information about the deadly arson is asked to call the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office at 740-335-6170.

If you or someone you know lives in a small town or neighborhood and knows of a crime that you think deserves more attention than it’s getting, please contact me.

 

Plea deal offered to craigslist ‘hitman’ who killed 19-year-old girl

Plea deal offered to craigslist 'hitman' who killed 19-year-old girl

Joseph Michael Lopez

I originally posted about the bizarre craigslist killing of 19-year-old Natalie Bollinger of Broomfield, Colorado, here. It’s alleged that Natalie was despondent and suicidal, according to her friends, and she took out an on craigslist looking for a hitman to kill her. 22-year-old Joseph Michael Lopez is said to have responded to the ad posing as a hitman and shot Natalie in the back of the head.

Now, it’s being reported that Lopez has been offered a plea deal against the wishes of Natalie’s family. Lopez is expected to plead guilty to 2nd-degree murder with a 50-year sentence and a possibility for parole. Natalie’s family is not having it…

“We said no and they still offered it to him today. Our family does not agree with this or is willing to do any plea bargain. I’m dumbfounded. I’m so disappointed in the legal system in Adams County,” said Ted Bollinger, Natalie’s father.

Can you blame him? If this was my daughter I’d be pushing for a death sentence which Colorado has only used once since it was reinstated in 1974.

In my opinion, Lopez should receive at least a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Even if the hitman story is true, just because someone who may be suicidal asks you to kill them, obviously, doesn’t mean you should. It takes a depraved indifference to just callously kill a complete stranger that you met through craigslist. And again, if craigslist actually moderated their site, if Natalie did place an ad it would never have come to Lopez’s attention.

I’m curious as to why the state is offering Lopez a plea deal. I guess the story is strange enough that it could possibly cast a modicum of reasonable doubt onto a jury.

Lopez is expected to enter his plea on December 3rd.

Virginia man killed in LetGo robbery, suspect still at large

Virginia man killed in LetGo robbery, suspect still at large

Joshua Grey

It’s been a while since I posted about a craigslist-like murder. In my absence, I’ve probably missed more than a few. Unfortunately, another one has happened recently. Last week, 23-year-old Joshua Grey was shot and killed after listing his iPhone for sale on the marketplace app LetGo. Joshua was said to have met his assailant alone at a local intersection in Richmond, Virginia. The killer shot Joshua and then took his iPhone. Joshua was able to get to a nearby convenience store where he tragically died from his injuries.

Police in Richmond have released surveillance video of Joshua’s alleged killer and are looking for the public’s help in bringing the man to justice. The video can be seen at this link. Richmond Police are asking for the public’s help in finding Joshua’s killer.

Anyone with any information about this homicide to call Major Crimes Detective T. Coates at (804) 646-0729 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at http://www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

Again I have to stress that if you use any classifieds site or app it’s imperative that you meet the other person involved in the transaction at a local police department. Many police stations have set up public meeting zones at their locations to better protect those buying and selling through classifieds. Some of these websites and apps have even set up listings of safe places to conduct these transactions. As I’ve said in the past, the old rules don’t apply anymore. Just meeting someone in public during the day isn’t enough anymore as the thieves and killers who inhabit sites like craigslist and apps like LetGo have stepped up their aggression in recent years leaving hundreds of bodies in their wake.

Still waiting for answers: Convictions upheld in the murder of Jaymie Adams

Still waiting for answers: Sentence upheld in the murder of Jaymie Adams

Jaymie Adams

Last week, the conviction of Joseph Cyr in the 2011 murder of Jaymie Adams was upheld by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Cyr was sentenced to two life sentences for supposedly killing the 26-year-old pregnant mother of four and her unborn child. Jaymie Adams was a prostitute who was being turned out in Oklahoma City on craigslist by her husband Justin Adams. Justin Adams was a person of interest early on in the investigation. Not only was he alleged to be having an affair after his wife went missing but he had also taken out a $100,000 life insurance policy on his wife shortly before her murder. You could be safe in assuming that at this point it would be an open and shut case but it wasn’t to be.

Investigators soon turned their attention to Joseph Cyr. Cyr was said to have been a customer of Jaymie Adams and his DNA was supposedly found inside of her. However, the autopsy report on Jaymie Adams claimed that there was no definite sperm is seen in
the oral, vaginal or rectal swabs.

The only motive the prosecution could come up with is that Cyr “repeatedly intertwines sex and violence” and desires to impregnate women against their wishes. Meanwhile, Justin Adams pleads guilty to manslaughter and only recieves 10-years probation.

As I’ve stated before, I’m not saying that Joseph Cyr wasn’t capable of murdering Jaymie Adams, however, I believe that not only was Joseph Cyr convicted on flimsy evidence but Justin Adams had much more to gain from his wife’s death. While I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories, Cyr’s arrest and conviction feel like he was railroaded. It even seems like the local media in Oklahoma went out of their way to under-report the investigation and trial. To my knowledge, once Cyr was arrested, the local media never questioned anything the investigators and prosecutors claimed about Cyr.

Joseph Cyr

Even in announcing that Cyr’s life sentences had been upheld, the local media appears to be very apathetic when it comes to reporting anything about Cyr. For example, please check the following articles about Cyr’s conviction being upheld.

Murder convictions upheld in death of pregnant woman (OKC Fox)
Murder convictions upheld in death of pregnant woman (The Norman Transcript)
Murder convictions upheld in death of pregnant woman (The Oklahoman)

All of these articles are consistent with the reporting that’s been happening on this story. They’re all quite brief and lacking detail and in the case of Oklahoma City’s own newspaper, The Oklahoman, they relied on an AP wire report rather than doing their own investigating.

In a day when primetime news shows and documentarians alike are trying to find the next wrongly convicted prisoner, why is no one looking into this?

The evolution of a school shooting that wasn’t one

The evolution of a school shooting that wasn't one

Before I get into the meat of this post I want to preface it by saying two things. The first is, I realize a victim in this story died and I am not trying to lessen the impact of or make light of their death. The second thing is, I also realize how much life and limb has been lost due to school violence this year, more than any other year I can remember. I’m also not trying to downplay the severity of the number of tragedies that have happened this year. However, I do have to take the media to task for calling everything a school shooting.

For example, here is how I received a news article from Google News Alerts about a shooting that took place in Overland Park, Kansas, on Tuesday.

Only one of those four headlines doesn’t call the incident a school shooting. When I clicked on the link from WIBW here in Topeka the headline at the time still referred to the incident as a school shooting although the headline has since been corrected. But the first paragraph of the story betrays the original headline.

Authorities have arrested a suspect in a shooting that killed one and critically wounded another outside an Overland Park elementary school.

Emphasis mine.

What happened is that 32-year-old Anthony David Grable was working with two other people installing playground equipment at the school when an argument ensued and Grable allegedly shot his two co-workers, killing one of them.

No students or faculty were at the school. No students or faculty were involved in the shooting. Schools in the district have been out of session since late May. However, I can almost guarantee you that some gun control group like Everytown for Gun Safety will consider this as a school shooting in order to overinflate their stats used to further push their agenda. Then it becomes a vicious cycle with media as they take whatever number Everytown puts forth as gospel and the cycle continues. While I think that the country is obviously in desperate need of gun reform, no one benefits from lies and hyperbole. Because once they’re accepted as fact and then the truth is revealed, it will give the opposition just as much ammunition, so to speak, to reverse any benefit and once again we’re back at square one where nothing has changed and kids are still dying for no reason.

UPDATE 7/7/2018: The victims in this shooting have been identified. The man who was killed was identified as 48-year-old Todd Davis, while the man who survived was identified as 54-year-old Efren Gomez.

Meanwhile, Grable has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder and had his bond set at $1 million.

“Bleed this block for street money.”: Man convicted in Dallas OfferUp killing

"Bleed this block for street money": Man convicted in Dallas OfferUp killing

Lonzell Hunter

Back in 2016, 42-year old Martha Teran was shot and killed in the parking lot of Medieval Times in Dallas, Texas. Back in April, 24-year-old Lonzell Hunter was convicted and sentenced to life for her murder. Hunter used a fake OfferUp profile in order to set up the robbery. When someone in the car Lonzell was sitting in snatched the phone, a struggle ensued and Lonzell shot Martha Teran. Lonzell had also messaged friends telling them to be ready to “bleed this block” for “street money.” He has also been charged with a charge of capital murder for the murder of another victim at a convenience store.

No matter how glitzy and slick a classifieds app appears to be, none of them are 100% safe and just meeting in a public place isn’t a guarantee of safety anymore. If you still insist on using classifieds apps or websites, meet the other person nowhere except a police station. If they don’t want to meet you there, then the odds are they’re up to no good.