Colorado teen admits guilt in killing driver struck in the head by rock

In a development regarding the tragic incident that occurred in Golden, Colorado, another teenager has now admitted guilt. The incident involved the unfortunate death of a 20-year-old driver, who was struck on the head by a rock that had crashed through her windshield. This incident took place in suburban Denver last year.

Nicholas Karol-Chik, 19, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and committing a crime of violence under a plea deal with prosecutors. He admitted to passing a rock to another teen, Joseph Koenig, who then threw it at Alexa Bartell’s car, resulting in her death on April 19, 2023. Karol-Chik has also pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder for throwing rocks at a total of nine people on that night. The other individuals involved, including Koenig and Zachary Kwak, have also pleaded guilty in separate incidents earlier this year.

Prosecutors previously stated that they were unsure which of the three 19-year-olds threw the rock that resulted in Bartell’s death. It was noted that the only DNA found on the rock belonged to Bartell herself. Therefore, in the upcoming trial of Koenig, who is the sole defendant still facing charges for first-degree murder, prosecutors might have to depend on Karol-Chik’s testimony. The trial is scheduled for July.

Koenig has entered a plea of not guilty, according to his lawyer Martin Stuart, who declined to provide further comment.

Both Karol-Chik and Kwak have made the decision to cooperate with prosecutors as part of their plea agreements. Kwak has pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in the death of Bartell. Additionally, she has pleaded guilty to second-degree assault for the three other drivers who were injured by rocks on the night of Bartell’s death. Furthermore, she has admitted to attempted second-degree assault for three other cars that were hit by rocks, although no injuries were sustained in those incidents.

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Karol-Chik confessed to the incident, revealing that all three individuals engaged in throwing rocks at passing cars that evening. Their reckless actions resulted in damage to a total of seven vehicles. Karol-Chik specifically mentioned that he was seated in the front passenger’s seat and handed a substantial landscaping rock to Koenig, who was driving at the time. Koenig proceeded to throw the rock at Bartell’s car.

Karol-Chik is facing a potential prison sentence of 35 to 72 years as part of his plea agreement. The sentencing is scheduled for September 10th.

Karol-Chik, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit with his wrists handcuffed in front of him, entered his plea in court while his parents observed from a few rows behind.

Bartell’s family and friends occupied one side of the courtroom, while his mother, seated on the defense side, shed tears while Judge Christopher Zenisek posed questions to him. Despite the emotional atmosphere, Bartell politely responded to the judge’s inquiries, demonstrating his understanding of the situation. Throughout the hearing, several individuals on both sides of the courtroom were seen wiping away tears.

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