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New attempted murder charge filed against 2 suspects charged in rock-throwing death

Two of the three suspects face charges for an April 1 incident where a statue head was thrown at a moving vehicle.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Two of the three people charged in the death of a 20-year-old who died after a rock was thrown through her windshield face an additional attempted murder charge for a separate incident that occurred in Arvada weeks before her death.

A spokesperson for the First Judicial District Attorney's Office said Wednesday that Joseph Koenig and Nicholas "Mitch" Karol-Chik each face two new charges:

  • Attempted first-degree murder
  • Attempted second-degree assault

According to the spokesperson, the new charges relate to an incident in Arvada on April 1. On that day, a statue head was thrown at a moving vehicle that was occupied in the area of 82nd Avenue and Alkire Street. It was described as a Greek statue.

"It was scary," said Ilduara Bryan. She and her husband Christopher were driving home from dinner that night with their teenage daughter when their car was hit by that statue. 

"It was close to our house when we saw a car pass by us throwing something and hit the car," said Ilduara Bryan, Arvada. “We went back to the area where they’d thrown something and one of the neighbors there asked if we were OK and they asked to help us to call police."

At the time, Bryan said there wasn't information for police to go off of, but the damage done to their car was extensive. 

“We saw our car was all smashed and the driver’s side, all the lights they were destroyed. It was big damage to the car. We were scared but not much we can do about it,” Bryan said. "Half the statue was still in one piece and the rest was destroyed."

It wasn't until a few weeks later that the Bryans realized how close a call they'd really had that night. 

“Twenty days later, when the police department called us and asked us about our accident because they told us it was associated with an accident," Bryan said. “I’m sorry for the family of those kids. I felt sorry for the girl who died. It’s sad what happened.”

The new charges were added on Aug. 30 and in light of them, Koenig's attorney filed a motion to continue a preliminary hearing set for Friday related to the death of Alexa Bartell. The judge pushed the hearing back to October.

Koenig, Karol-Chik and a third suspect, Zachary Kwak, are charged with first-degree murder related to her April 19 death. She was killed as she drove home on Indiana Street near the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. At the time, Bartell was on the phone with a friend and the line went silent. Bartell's friend tracked down her phone and drove to the location on Indiana Street to find Bartell dead inside her car, which was off the roadway in a field.

On the same night that Bartell was killed, numerous other drivers reported that their vehicles were also struck by large rocks. The suspects, who were arrested on April 25, are charged in those incidents as well.

RELATED: 3 suspects charged in rock-throwing death of Alexa Bartell

Credit: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Alexa Bartell

According to the motion to continue, prosecutors allege that cell phone records place Koenig and Karol-Chik in the area where the victim's vehicle was hit on April 1.

"While the defense understands and empathizes with the alleged victims’ and their family’s impatience with the legal process, Mr. Koenig’s right to due process and a fair trial is paramount at every critical stage of the proceedings," the motion says.

That same motion acknowledges that prosecutors oppose a continuance.

RELATED: 'Feels surreal': Lakewood man whose car was hit by rock talks about incident

According to an arrest affidavit released earlier, Karol-Chik admitted that he and Koenig had been involved in throwing objects, including a statue and rocks, at vehicles since "at least February," on at least 10 occasions.

Investigators do not believe Kwak was involved in the April 1 incident and he is not charged in that case. 

All three suspects are currently due in court Friday for a preliminary hearing, but it could be postponed if the defense motion is granted.

Credit: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
From left: Nicholas Karol-Chik, Zachary Kwak and Joseph Koenig.

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