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Rock Hurling Killers

Posted 05/05/2023 by Ben Hartley

The windshield of Bartell’s Chevy Spark following the attack. photo courtesy of Jefferson County Investigators

Three 18 year-olds from Colorado have been charged with first-degree murder after throwing rocks at passing cars.

Alexa Bartell was just twenty years old when a rock smashed through the windshield of her car, delivering a fatal blow to her head. The three high school seniors responsible for throwing the rock at the Colorado resident were even younger – just 18 years old – when they took Bartell’s life. 

On April 19th, three 12th grade students enrolled at Jefferson County Public Schools decided their entertainment for the night would be throwing rocks at passing cars. Joseph Koenig, Nicholas Karol-Chik, and Zachary Kwak began their twisted activities by loading a truck with landscaping rocks they found in a Walmart parking lot. The boys then drove around looking for drivers to fall victim to their sick idea of a prank. Before fatally injuring Bartell, the trio would damage six different cars and injure two other drivers. On top of that, the boys threw rocks at moving vehicles on roughly ten other occasions since February. 

At approximately 10:45 that night, according to NBC, the windshield of Bartell’s Chevy Spark was punctured by either Joseph Keonig or Zachary Kwak. Bartell was on the phone with her friend when she suddenly stopped responding. After calling 911, the friend tracked Bartell down using Apple’s Find My Friends feature. The Broomfield Police Department was the first to arrive on scene, where they discovered Bartell’s vehicle had veered off the road and into an adjacent field. The first officer to approach the car discovered a large hole in the front windshield and blood splattered on Bartell’s lap and door interior. Bartell was dead upon arrival. 

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the perpetrator behind the matter once crime scene analysts found tire tracks in the grass where the car veered off the road. This led them to finding the landscaping rock used to kill Bartell just further South. This information, combined with reports of other incidents that night concerning rock throwing, prompted the police department to begin a full scale investigation behind the matter. 

The sinister trio of eighteen year olds were arrested on April 26, 2023, after investigators received incriminating evidence through public tips and the use of cell phone forensics. The boys were all charged with first degree murder with extreme indifference. Although it is reasonable to assume they would be charged with manslaughter, according to the Colorado Legal Defense Group, “under Colorado law, first-degree murder comprises deliberate and intentional killing as well as killings resulting from risky behavior exhibiting extreme indifference to human life.” Investigators are still not entirely certain which of the boys was responsible for throwing the final rock of the night, but they will all face the same charge because each of them were involved in the risky behavior that exhibited such indifference to human life. 

Once the boys were taken into custody, more details about their actions the night of April 19th surfaced. Documents from the case revealed that Kwak allegedly said, “We have to go back to see that,” after the rock struck Bartell’s windshield. Later on, when Kwak was questioned by investigators, he admitted to taking a photo of Bartell’s car after it had come to a stop. Kwak admitted that he thought one of the other boys may want the photo of the wreck to be kept as a “memento.” With the amount of cruel indifference these boys exhibit, it comes as no surprise that the trio responsible for Bartell’s death are being charged with first degree murder.