DENVER—Three teens accused of killing a 20-year-old woman while throwing large rocks at passing cars have been charged with murder and other crimes, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Nicholas “Mitch” Karol-Chik, Joseph Koenig, and Zachary Kwak, all 18, each face identical charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, second-degree assault, and attempted second-degree assault in the death of Alexis Bartell—and alleged attacks on six other cars in suburban Denver, First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King announced.
Two other drivers suffered minor injuries, according to investigators.
The office of Karol-Chik’s lawyer, Holly Gummerson, and Koenig’s lawyer, Tom Ward, declined to comment. A messages left for Kwak’s lawyer, Emily Boehne, was not immediately returned. During a brief afternoon court hearing, the lawyers all declined to have the charges read.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Bartell was talking on the phone with a friend when she was hit by the rock on April 19. After the call went silent, the friend tracked Bartell’s location with a phone app and found the woman dead in her car, which had crashed into a field.
Karol-Chik told investigators that Koenig slowed down so Kwak could get a photo of Bartell’s car after it crashed into a field. He said all three got excited every time they hit a car with landscaping rocks taken from a Walmart parking lot, but acknowledged he felt “a hint of guilt” passing by her car, according to court documents.
Kwak said he took the photo because he thought that Karol-Chik or Koenig would want to have a “memento” of what had happened, according to the arrest affidavits.
Karol-Chik told investigators with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that he and Koenig had thrown rocks and even a statue at passing cars on at least 10 other days before Bartell was killed. Kwak heard about what they had been doing and asked to join them, according to Karol-Chik’s account in the affidavits.
Karol-Chik and Kwak offered different accounts about who threw the fatal rock. Koenig did not speak to investigators after he was arrested, according to the arrest affidavits.
By Colleen Slevin