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.

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

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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.

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.

Ohio Craigslist vigilante sentenced to life

Craigslist vigilante sentenced to life in Ohio killing

William Knight

Back in March…of last year, 64-year-old craigslist vigilante William Knight, of Streetsboro, Ohio, shot and killed a man he thought had stolen his son-in-law’s dirt bike. Knight found the bike being sold on craigslist and decided to confront the seller in Akron. The only problem is, the seller wasn’t the person who stole the bike. Knight killed 24-year-old Keith Johnson who had bought the bike from someone the year before. Knight claimed self-defense, but witnesses say Johnson was trying to flee at the time of the shooting. Originally, Knight was only charged with involuntary manslaughter. Later, a grand jury indicted Knight for murder.

Earlier last month, Knight was convicted by a jury of murder, and later that month, he was sentenced to life in prison. ‘

Initially, Knight had informed police he was going to meet the seller, but something more pressing drew the police’s attention so Knight didn’t wait on them. If you find something of yours that was stolen listed on a site or app like craigslist, don’t go to meet the seller yourself. Instead, call the police and let them handle it. It’s kind of their job. While the media loves to tell stories about civilians whose stolen stuff ended up on craigslist and got it back by confronting the thief, there are so many things that could go wrong in that situation that it’s too dangerous to conduct such a sting on your own. There’s no stolen property that’s worth the cost of your life.

“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.

Grisly details released in Oklahoma craigslist killing

Grisly details released in Oklahoma craigslist killing

Baker and Garcia-Boettler

I initially posted about the murders of Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland here. Back in April, the two 21-year-olds from Moore, Oklahoma, were shot and killed during a craigslist gun sale gone wrong. Their bodies were found days later, weighted down in a pond. 22-year-old Kevin Garcia-Boettler and 43-year-old Johnny Barker were charged with their murders. Also charged was Garcia-Boettler’s 16-year-old brother who has now been identified as Brett Boettler who has been charged as an adult. 40-year-old Crystal Rachelle Boettler, the mother of the two brothers, has been charged as an accessory after the fact.

After allegedly shooting the two victims in their van, the Boettler brothers took their victims to their mom’s home where Barker, Mrs. Boettler’s boyfriend, is said to have helped the brothers dispose of the bodies. Reports are also now saying that Smith’s and Moreland’s bodies were dismembered before being thrown into the pond.

According to court documents, detectives found the White Chrysler Town and Country van which was seen during the shooting, at the Boettler home.

After looking inside, they found “cleaning products and a power washer around the vehicle,” “dried blood spatter on the ceiling of the van” and “a bucket of water with a chainsaw bar inside and soaking in the water along with several jigsaw blades.”

Again, all this senseless violence could have been prevented if craigslist had only moderated their own site for illegal gun sales. Selling firearms is against their terms of service, but they refuse to enforce it.

(Sources)
KFOR
KOCO
OKC Fox

Two Okla. men killed during craigslist sale

Two Okla. men killed during craigslist sale

Baker and Garcia-Boettler

Just because craigslist removed its personals section doesn’t mean it’s any safer. Last weekend, two men, 21-year-olds Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland, went missing in Moore, Oklahoma, after witnesses saw them being taken into a van. Moreland’s family claimed that he was meeting someone to sell something through craigslist. Sadly, the bodies of Moreland and Smith were found weighted in a pond earlier this week. Three suspects have been arrested and charged in their murders, and they are 22-year-old Kevin Garcia-Boettler, 43-year-old Johnny Barker, and the 16-year-old brother of Garcia-Boettler.

According to police, Moreland and Smith were said to be selling a gun on craigslist and the trio of suspects were meeting with the two men to purchase the gun. Once Moreland and Smith approached the suspects’ van, one of the suspects claims they heard a gun being cocked by one of the victims. This resulted in one of the suspects firing on the two men, killing them both. Tragically, this could have all been prevented.

Craigslist’s terms of service forbids firearms from being sold or traded on their site, yet it happens all the time. The problem with craigslist is the usual one as they hardly ever do any kind of moderation on their site for any kind of illegal items or sales. Instead, they rely on their users to flag any kind of inappropriate ad, the same users who are posting the illegal ads to begin with. This is akin to the inmates running the asylum. Craigslist has the ability to screen for ads like this as they have done so in the past with unlocked iPhones when that was still illegal. Yet they allow guns to change hands without even batting an eye.