May 31, 2023

DENVER (AP) — Three teens accused of driving around throwing large rocks at passing cars, one of which investigators say killed a 20-year-old woman, returned to snap a photo of her crashed car as a ‘memento’. to court documents released Thursday.

Nicholas “Mitch” Karol-Chik told investigators that Joseph Koenig slowed down so Zachary Kwak could snap a photo of the car in which authorities say Alexa Bartell died after being hit in the head with a rock on April 19, according to statements of arrests for the 18th-year-old. In a hint at a possible motive, Karol-Chik said the three of them got excited every time they hit a car with a rock that night, but acknowledged that he felt “a touch of guilt” as he passed Bartell’s car, according to the documents .

Kwak said he took the photo because he thought Karol-Chik or Koenig would want a “memento” of what happened, according to the affidavits. Koenig did not speak to investigators after he was arrested, they said.

All three teens made their first brief appearance in court on Thursday, speaking only to answer brief questions from the judge about whether they could hear and understand what was happening. A telephone message left for Kwak’s lawyer was not immediately answered. A person at the law firm who has been appointed by the court to represent Karol-Chik declined to comment. Koenig is represented by a lawyer from the public prosecutor’s office, who does not comment on cases to the media.

The three teens were arrested this week at their homes in Arvada, a Denver suburb, after identifying them as suspects using cell tower data and another friend who interacted with them earlier on April 19. Joseph Bopp also offered a possible explanation. for the alleged rock-throwing, telling investigators that Koenig often engages in “destructive behavior” because “he likes to cause ‘mayhem,'” according to the documents. Bopp told sheriff’s investigators he had asked to be taken home after seeing the three others grab landscaping stones from a Walmart parking lot and load them into Karol-Chik’s pickup truck, saying he knew that something bad was about to happen, according to the documents.

Karol-Chik told investigators at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that he and Koenig had thrown rocks and even a statue at passing cars at least 10 other days before Bartell was killed. Kwak heard what they were doing and asked to join them on April 19, Karol-Chick said, the documents said.

Investigators believe the teens were involved in several other similar incidents in which stones 4 to 6 inches (10 and 15 centimeters) in diameter and weighing 3 to 5 pounds (1.4 to 2.7 kilograms) were thrown at cars in the area. area were thrown the night of Bartell’s death. Two other drivers suffered minor injuries.

According to the sheriff’s office, Bartell was on the phone with a friend when she was hit by the rock. After the call ended, the friend tracked Bartell’s location with a phone app and found the woman dead in her car, which had crashed into a field.