Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old facing a life sentence in prison was released from jail on Monday after two years in Wisconsin detention center awaiting her trial.
Ms. Kizer was charged with premeditated murder in 2018 over the death of Randall Volar, a the man she says forced her into sex trafficking. Her case attracted widespread attention and was released after a $400,000 bond was paid by the Chicago Community Bond Fund, the Milwaukee Freedom Fund, Survived and Punished, and the Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee.
Kizer shared her ordeal while with her alleged abuser, Randall Volar III, a 34-year-old white man in 2018. She said he sexually abused her for over a year while providing her with money. She further said that Volar began trafficking her to other men after they met for the first time on Backpage, a website that was shut down in 2018 for its association with child sex trafficking.
According to Kizer, who is black, first met Mr. Volar, who was white, when she was 16. On the night of the killing, Kizer traveled to Mr. Volar’s home in an Uber that he paid for, and spent several hours there before shooting him. Volar was killed by Kizer, who shot him in the head twice and told authorities that she was defending herself after Volar pinned her to the floor after she told him that she didn’t want to have sex with him, she set the house on fire and left in his vehicle. Kizer eventually confessed to shooting him.
Kizer wasn’t the only young Black girl who was abused and filmed by Volar. He was previously arrested by authorities in 2017 after a 15-year-old called the police from Volar’s home and told police them that a man had given her drugs and that he was going to kill her. Volar was subsequently charged with child enticement, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, and second-degree sexual assault of a child. Police officers confiscated evidence from Volar’s home including hard drives and clothing. He was released the same day that he was arrested and remained free while police investigated him for abusing multiple girls.
Cyntoia Brown-Long, another sex trafficking victim who spent 15 years in prison for killing a man she said paid her for sex when she was a teen.
According to Santera Matthews, the organizer of the Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee, who has been working with other organization to raise awareness, said Kizer has been awaiting trial for two years, and her case received widespread attention from supporters and activists who said she acted in self-defense and was a victim of sex trafficking.
“It was incredible to see that we were able to bond Chrystul out, people believe that she is a survivor, and that she was punished for surviving,” Ms. Matthews said, adding that the case is an example of the ways the criminal justice system has failed to protect black women and girls.