Teen accused of killing woman by throwing rock through windscreen took photo as ‘memento’, prosecutors say

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A teenager accused of killing a motorist after throwing a rock through the windshield of her car allegedly took a photograph “as a memento” of the crime, say authorities.

Three high school students have been charged with the murder of Alexa Bartell, 20, when her vehicle and a string of other cars were struck by landscaping rocks in Colorado.

Joseph Koenig, Nicholas “Mitch” Karol-Chik and Zachary Kwak, who are all 18, were arrested on Tuesday on charges of first-degree murder and extreme indifference, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Mr Karol-Chik told investigators that after the rock hit Bartell’s car, Mr Kwak, who allegedly threw the rock, told the others “We have to go back and see that”, according to an arrest affidavit.

The group then circled back and Mr Koenig slowed down so that Mr Kwak could take a picture of Bartell’s car, prosecutors say.

“Joe slowed the vehicle so that Zach could take a photo of it. Mitch noted that he felt ‘a hint of guilt,’” the court document said.

When asked by police why he had taken a photograph, Mr Kwak told them that he thought “Joseph or Mitch would want it as a memento.”

The affidavit states that after the photograph was taken, Mr Koenig and Mr Kwak spoke about being “blood brothers” and that “they could never speak of this incident again.”

Mr Karol-Chik told investigators that he and Mr Kwak “both collected rocks, and that all three of them threw rocks at moving cars,” the affidavit said.

He stated that he and Mr Koenig “have been involved in throwing objects since at least February on ten separate days.”

Mr Karol-Chik also told police that the group had felt “excited” when the rocks hit the cars.

Officials say Bartell was on the phone with a friend when the incident happened. The friend tracked her phone and found Bartell dead inside the car, which had come to a stop in a field.

Officials say that in the hour before Bartell was struck and killed, six other cars in the area had rocks thrown at them, and two other motorists suffered minor injuries.

The suspects appeared via Zoom before First Judicial District Judge Mark Randall in Jefferson County Court on Thursday. They did not enter pleas and will be in court on 3 May.

All three remain held without bail.