Alexa Bartell

3 High School Seniors Face Victim’s Family After Throwing Rocks & Killing 20-year-old Motorist, Alexa Bartell: Court

Three Colorado teens will face additional charges as adults after allegedly throwing a large rock and killing 20-year-old Alexa Bartell, they learned during a Jefferson County Court hearing Wednesday afternoon.

The suspects, Nicholas Karol-Chik, Joseph Koenig, and Zachary Kwak, all 18, appeared in court Wednesday, charged with first-degree murder. They learned they’ll also face 13 additional charges, including assault and attempted assault, CBS News reports.

During Wednesday’s court session, Alexa Bartell’s family was present in the courtroom, a few feet away from the defendants. This was the first time they had an opportunity to see them in person. The suspects were seated beside one another during the hearing.

Craig Silverman, a former Denver prosecutor, attended the court proceedings and speculated that the case may proceed to a full trial.

In an interview with KDVR, he said, “Most cases end up being resolved with a plea bargain, but I’m uncertain if that will be the outcome in this case given the extent of the harm caused to the victims. The manner in which the evidence is presented will ultimately determine the course of action.”

As CrimeOnline previously reported, on April 19, Alexa was on the phone with a friend and driving near the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge when she was struck in the head by a rock. Her friend tracked the phone and found Bartell dead in her vehicle, which had veered into a field.

The teens intentionally drove toward Bartell’s vehicle and slowed down to take a photograph of the crashed car as a “memento” of what happened.

“We have to go back and see that,” one of the teens allegedly said, according to records obtained by the Colorado Sun.

L-R, Joseph Koenig, Zachary Kwak, and Mitch Karol-Chik/Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office

Karol-Chik allegedly told police that he felt “a hint of guilt” passing Bartell’s vehicle, an arrest affidavit states.

The suspects reportedly did nothing to help Bartell following the killing. Kwak claimed that he took the photo because he thought his friends would want the image as a reminder of what happened.

Police arrested the teens in Arvada, after identifying them based on cellphone data and information from a friend who had been socializing with them before they began hurling rocks at vehicles.

That same day, two other victims were injured in earlier assaults involving rocks, while seven vehicles in total sustained damage from what authorities have characterized as “large landscaping rocks.” According to reports, the suspects may have been traveling in a moving vehicle at the time the rocks were thrown.

At least some of the teens have allegedly been throwing rocks at vehicles since February.

More than 500 people gathered last month for a memorial service to remember Bartell, according to the Denver Post. Alongside the fence where Bartell passed away on Indiana Street, a memorial adorned with flowers and pinwheels has been erected to honor her memory.

The suspects are being held in custody without bail and are scheduled to appear in court again on May 16.

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[Feature Photo: Alexa Bartell/Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office]

Additional reporting by Jonathan Anderson