She Was Charged With Killing Her Alleged Sex Trafficker. Two Years Later, She’s Free on Bail.
Sarah L. Voisin
A Wisconsin young woman accused of murdering her alleged sex dealer was released from prison - where she had been waiting for the trial for two years - after community activists raised her $ 400,000 bail .
19-year-old Chrystul Kizer faces life in prison after being charged with arson and deliberate first-degree murder for the murder of 34-year-old Randall P. Volar in June 2018. The authorities claim that the then 17-year-old Kizer shot Volar in a deliberate attack.
Activists and several celebrities, however, argue that Kizer - whose case was rediscovered by police after nationwide protests after George Floyd's death - defended himself only against the man who had sexually abused her for over a year, forcing her to sex trade.
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"Far too often, survivors of violence - especially black women and girls - are punished for defending themselves," said the Chicago Community Bond Fund, one of the groups that raised money for the teen's release, in a statement. "Chrystul's case highlights the urgent need for the criminal justice system to stop persecuting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault."
“The police and government systems in place to protect Chrystul have failed. Instead of being cared for and supported from the start, she has been illegally detained for almost two years because she chose to survive, ”added the statement.
After collecting money for months, the fund - along with four other community-led groups - paid Kizer's $ 400,000 bail on Monday, and she left Kenosha County Detention Center with two garbage bags full of letters from followers.
Authorities said Kizer was 16 when she posted an ad on Backpage.com looking for money for school supplies and snacks. Kizer later told the police that she had another girl show her how to use the website, which the FBI eventually closed as a prostitution forum.
The then 33-year-old Volar was the first to contact her, the teenager said in an interview with the Washington Post in 2019.
For over a year, Volar would give the teenager money and gifts - including a heart-shaped medallion and a cell phone - in return for sexual acts, she said. Finally, Kizer said he told her to have sex with other men on the same website they met and that he drove her to hotels in Milwaukee, where she would meet older men at 30-minute intervals. When it was over, Kizer told the post office that she would hand over the money she had earned to Volar.
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"He told me to get the money first and then text him when I'm done," she told the newspaper, adding that because Volar "was an adult and I wasn't," she continued.
Unknown to Kizer, the Kenosha Police Department investigated Volar for sexual misconduct after allegedly abusing several underage black girls. In February 2018, he was arrested on various charges, including child sexual abuse. Volar was released on bail and remained free for three months - even after the authorities allegedly found that he was abusing at least a dozen girls and found that he had videotaped some of the attacks, police said.
Kizer told the post that her boyfriend, who was suspicious of Volar's actions and the alleged sex trade, bought her a .380 pistol, taught her to shoot, and insisted that she take the gun anywhere.
The gun was still in her pocket after a June 4 hearing in a Milwaukee court where the teenager pleaded guilty to another charge. She told the post that she and her boyfriend had fought after the hearing and she texted Volar and asked if she could come over.
Once at the house, Kizer said Volar had ordered pizza and given her a drug. When it started to hit her, Volar started touching her leg and when she resisted, the 34-year-old told her that she owed him something.
"I tried to get up to get away from him, but I stumbled and fell on the floor and he climbed on top of me," she told the post. "And he tried to like tearing off my pants, my jeans that I was wearing. ... I wobbled. "
Kizer said she doesn't remember grabbing the gun she'd used to shoot Volar twice in the head as he continued to stick it on the floor. But after killing Volar, she said she panicked - so she set fire to his house and fled to his car.
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A few days later, Kizer confessed to the authorities. Despite his knowledge of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Volar, District Attorney Michael Graveley accused the teenager and argued that the killing was a premeditated plan to steal the 34-year-old's BMW.
Kizer's bond was initially set at $ 1 million, but was reduced to $ 400,000 in February. During the bond trial, Graveley argued that Volar was trying to distance himself from the teenager, and minutes before Kizer shot him, she downloaded a police scanner app. The prosecutor has never denied that Volar is guilty of sexually abusing Kizer.
Graveley's office did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast's request for comment.
Kizer's bail is released only two weeks after Judge Davik Wilk rejected the teenager's request to lower the bail again. At the June 8 hearing, defender Jennifer Bias argued that the bail should be reduced to $ 15,000 so Kizer can be released into her mother's care so that she can receive therapy "to address the significant trauma that" she has suffered in recent years ".
"Chrystul's case deepens current demands for justice and the need to continue to fight for the transformation of our society," the Milwaukee Freedom Fund said in a statement to The Daily Beast. "While the systems that are supposed to harm our community still exist, bail and mutual aid projects are a necessity that we are proud to be part of."
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In Kizer's case, no trial date was set. She is awaiting a decision by an appeals court to determine whether she qualifies for the Wisconsin positive defense law. It would allow her to argue that Volar's murder was a direct result of the sex trafficking and abuse she allegedly had suffered. Kizer is expected to attend a status hearing in court on September 11.
"Even if she is convicted of a murder that is currently there, Ms. Kizer at her young age, and with the crimes that Mr. Volar previously committed against her, she is never a person who will be detained for decades. It will don't happen in this case, "Graveley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, adding that no one expects Kizer to serve a life sentence.
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