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Second teenager pleads guilty in Colorado rock-throwing series that killed 20-year-old woman

A second teenager pleaded guilty Wednesday to a series of rock-throwing incidents that cost 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 rocks at cars, hitting seven vehicles, prosecutors said. Three people were injured and one person — Alexa Bartell — was killed when her car was struck while driving near Denver, prosecutors said.

On Wednesday, Karol-Chik pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder and felony violence, prosecutors said. The original 15 charges against Karol-Chik were dismissed following this plea.

PHOTO: Damage to Alexa Bartell's car is shown after she was fatally injured by a rock, 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, Colorado Sheriff’s Office

Karol-Chik was in the front passenger 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 – all 18-year-old high school students at the time – were arrested about a week later on charges including first-degree murder amid extreme indifference.

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

PHOTO: Nicolas

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 September 10.

Karol-Chik and Koenig also allegedly threw objects at drivers on Feb. 25, 2023, prosecutors said. On April 1, 2023, Karol-Chik was driving 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 County Court of Jefferson, 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 second-degree assault, according to prosecutors. Initial charges against Kwak were dismissed following his plea, prosecutors said.

Kwak faces between 20 and 32 years in prison, the prosecutor’s office said, and his sentencing is scheduled for September 3.

PHOTO: In this May 3, 2023, file photo, defendant Zachary Kwak listens to First Judicial District Court Judge Christopher Zenisek at 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 of assault, in Jefferson County Court, Golden, Colorado. .

Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post via Getty Images, FILE

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

ABC News

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