2nd teen pleads guilty in Colorado rock-throwing spree that killed 20-year-old woman

Alexa Bartell, 20, was fatally struck by a large rock while driving near Denver.

May 15, 2024, 12:21 PM

A second teenager pleaded guilty Wednesday in connection with a rock-throwing spree that claimed the life of a 20-year-old woman in Colorado.

On the night of April 19, 2023, Joseph Koenig, Nicholas "Mitch" Karol-Chik and Zachary Kwak allegedly threw large landscaping rocks toward cars, hitting seven vehicles, prosecutors said. Three people were hurt and one person -- Alexa Bartell -- was killed when her car was struck as she drove near Denver, prosecutors said.

PHOTO: Alexa Bartell, 20, was fatally struck by a large rock while driving near Denver, Colorado.
Alexa Bartell, 20, was fatally struck by a large rock while driving near Denver, Colorado.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

On Wednesday, Karol-Chik pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder and crime of violence, prosecutors said. The original 15 counts against Karol-Chik were dismissed as a result of the plea.

PHOTO: Damage to Alexa Bartell's car is shown after she was fatally injured by a rock, on April 19, 2023.
Damage to Alexa Bartell's car is shown after she was fatally injured by a rock, on April 19, 2023.
Jefferson County, CO Sheriff's Office

Karol-Chik was in the front passenger's seat that night and handed Koenig the rock that Koenig threw at Bartell, according to the Colorado First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Koenig, Karol-Chik and Kwak -- who were all 18-year-old high school seniors at the time -- were arrested about one week later on charges including first-degree murder with extreme indifference.

PHOTO: Nicholas "Mitch" Karol-Chik listens  in Jefferson County court, May 3, 2023.
Defendant Nicholas "Mitch" Karol-Chik listens to First Judicial District Court Judge Christopher Zenisek as Karol-Chik is formally charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and attempted assault, in Jefferson County court on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.
AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Karol-Chik faces between 35 and 72 years in prison, prosecutors said. His sentencing is set for Sept. 10.

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Karol-Chik and Koenig also allegedly threw objects at drivers on Feb. 25, 2023, prosecutors said. On April 1, 2023, Karol-Chik drove while Koenig allegedly threw a statue head at another driver, prosecutors said.

PHOTO: Defendant Joseph Koenig listens to First Judicial District Court Judge Christopher Zenisek as Koenig is formally charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and attempted assault, in Jefferson County court, May 3, 2023.
Defendant Joseph Koenig listens to First Judicial District Court Judge Christopher Zenisek as Koenig is formally charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and attempted assault, in Jefferson County court, May 3, 2023.
AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Last week, Kwak pleaded guilty to three new charges: first- and second-degree assault and criminal attempt to commit assault in the second degree, according to prosecutors. Kwak's original charges were dismissed as a result of his plea, prosecutors said.

Kwak faces 20 to 32 years in prison, the district attorney's office said, and he's scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 3.

PHOTO: In this May 3, 2023, file photo, defendant Zachary Kwak listens to First Judicial District Court Judge Christopher Zenisek in Jefferson County court, in Golden, Colorado.
In this May 3, 2023, file photo, defendant Zachary Kwak listens to First Judicial District Court Judge Christopher Zenisek as Kwak is formally charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and attempted assault, in Jefferson County court, in Golden, Colorado.
Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post via Getty Images, FILE

Koenig has pleaded not guilty. His trial is set to begin on July 19.

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