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Colorado teen faces up to 72 years after pleading guilty in deadly rock-throwing attack

A Colorado teenager faces between 35 and 72 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder for his role in a deadly rock-throwing spree last year.

Nicholas “Mitch” Karol-Chik, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death of Alexa Bartell in suburban Denver, prosecutors said.

Alexa Bartell

Alexa Bartell

Jeffco Sheriff

Alexa Bartell

Karol-Chik took a plea deal in exchange for prosecutors dropping first-degree murder charges, according to the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

“Karol-Chik knowingly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death, under circumstances evidencing an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life,” the office said in a statement.

On April 19, 2023, Karol-Chik and two pals — Zachary Kwak and Joseph Koenig — drove around the west Denver suburbs throwing large rocks at other vehicles, police said. The teens struck seven vehicles during their chaotic spree.

Three other drivers were injured by the rocks, while Bartell, 20, was killed when a rock smashed through her windshield.

According to police, Karol-Chik passed Koenig the rock that killed Bartell, and Koenig threw it. Kwak, allegedly in the back seat, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last week and faces between 20 and 32 years in prison.


Joseph Koenig, left, Nicholas

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Joseph Koenig, left, Nicholas “Mitch” Karol-Chik, center, and Zachary Kwak.

Koenig has pleaded not guilty and is set to stand trial beginning July 19. Kwak and Karol-Chik both agreed to testify against Koenig as part of their plea deals.


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