Teen facing life in jail for killing her sex trafficker freed as organizations pay her bail
A young girl, who faces a life sentence in prison for killing her sex trafficker, was finally released as activists raised enough money for her bail.
Chrystul Kizer, the black teenage girl imprisoned for killing her sex trafficker, was freed from a Wisconsin jail thanks to community organizers and activists. They managed to raise enough donations to bail the girl out, The Mind Unleashed reports.
In 2018, when Chrystul was only 17, she was charged with first-degree intentional homicide. According to police, she allegedly shot and killed Randall P. Volar III, a 34-year-old white man from Kenosha, Illinois. Moreover, she then set his home on fire before escaping in his car. Despite acting in self-defense when she killed her attacker, Chrystul was treated as a criminal.
Kizer’s case has recently become a hot nationwide topic. Opponents of rape and sex trafficking, including high-profile figures, have claimed she’s a survivor of sex trafficking who is being prosecuted as a criminal.
The girl, who is now 19-years-old, faces charges of arson and first-degree murder. In Wisconsin, intentional homicides are being punished with a mandatory life sentence.
Last year, in an interview with the Washington Post, Chrystul admitted shooting her attacker twice in the head, as he was trying to pon her to the floor.
Her abuser “had been under investigation for months. Police had arrested him on charges of child sexual assault but released him the same day. A raid of his home revealed video evidence that he was sexually abusing multiple Black girls as young as 12.” https://t.co/27lQLgubxZ
— Emily Lindin (@EmilyLindin) June 23, 2020
Chrystul met her abuser when she was only 16. For over a year, Volar proceeded to sexually abuse her. He was manipulating the teenage girl with gifts and money. According to court records, Volar was abusing multiple underage black girls. Additionally, police and prosecutors have video evidence of the abuse, including recordings of him sexually abusing a girl who appeared as young as 12. However, during the ongoing investigation, the abuser was not even detained.
The teenage girl claimed the 34-year-old trafficker was selling her to other men through an online prostitution marketplace.
In 2018, the online market was shut down for its role in child sex trafficking.
On June 22, four organizations, including the Chicago Community Bond Fund, the Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee, Milwaukee Freedom Fund, and Survived & Punished, paid Kizer’s bail. Previously, it was $1 million, but this year it was lowered to $400,000.
Criminalized trafficking survivor Chrystul Kizer has been incarcerated in the Kenosha County Jail for the last two years awaiting trial.
— Chicago Community Bond Fund (@ChiBondFund) June 22, 2020
Although the girl was released from prison, she still faces a trial at an unknown future date. There is a possibility she may qualify for the state’s affirmative defense law. This would grant her the right to argue that she was acting in self-defense, as she was a victim of sex trafficking and abuse.
However, Michael Gravely, the Kenosha County District Attorney, claims that Chrystul’s crime was a calculated act. He reveals that minutes before firing on Volar at his home, she downloaded a police scanner app. Gravely, who is the lead prosecutor in Kizer’s case, offered her to sentence her to up to 21 years on downgraded charges of felony murder and jumping bail. Additionally, he has vowed not to take the public opinion in mind while working on the case.
Today, the #FreeChrystul Defense Cmte, @ChiBondFund, MKE Freedom Fund, & @survivepunish paid Chrystul’s $400,000 bond so she can continue fighting her case from outside of a cage & w/ the support of her community. pic.twitter.com/zsyPHxEpkz
— Milwaukee Black & Pink (@mkeblackandpink) June 22, 2020
In an official statement, the Chicago Community Bond Fund said:
“Far too often, survivors of violence—especially Black women and girls—are punished for defending themselves. Chrystul’s case highlights the urgent need for the criminal legal system to stop prosecuting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The police and government systems set up to protect Chrystul failed her. Instead of being given care and support from the beginning, she has been wrongfully incarcerated for nearly two years now for choosing to survive.”
When the case ends, the organizations will invest most of the returned bail money for establishing a national bail fund for criminalized survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
Another part of the money will be donated to the Milwaukee Freedom Fund for its ongoing bail fund.
Jennifer Bias, Trial Division Director at the Office of the State Public Defender, said:
“This traumatized child, Chrystul Kizer, enticed and abused repeatedly by Randy Volar, will continue to suffer for the rest of her life. While Chrystul will never be able to erase what Mr. Volar did to her, she now has a fighting chance to assist in the preparation of her defense to these very serious charges from outside of a jail cell.”
Meanwhile, Chrystul Kizer’s Defense Committee is taking donations to help pay her legal and living expenses, plus the ongoing costs of care and treatment. The fundraiser hosted by Kara Mannor aims to raise $50K. This sum was set as ‘One expert witness could cost as much as $50,000’.