KENOSHA, Wis. - A Milwaukee woman who was in custody for two years accused of killing a man who sexually assaulted her and other underage girls has been released from jail, according to one of the community groups that raised her $400,000 bail.
Chrystul Kizer, 19, was released Monday from the Kenosha County Jail where she was awaiting trial for killing 34-year-old Randall Volar III in June 2018. Kizer was 17 at the time. She faces five felony charges, including first-degree intentional homicide.
Advocates for trafficking victims have been pushing for the charges to be dropped.
Kizer, who is Black, was able to post bond due to an influx of donations, most of them small, associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, according to Sharlyn Grace, executive director of the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Community groups including the Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee, Milwaukee Freedom Fund and Survived & Punished also contributed, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Kizer discussed her case in an interview with The Washington Post that was published in late 2019.
Kenosha police had been investigating Volar, who was white, for child trafficking and possession of child pornography at the time of his death.
District Attorney Michael Graveley said at Kizer’s most recent court appearance that there’s no doubt Volar sexually assaulted Kizer and other girls. Police have seized videotapes that show some of the assaults, according to court documents.
But, he said, there’s evidence that Kizer planned Volar’s shooting death and that her motive was to steal his BMW.
Speaking to The Washington Post from jail, Chrystul maintained she was defending herself and that when she told Volar she didn’t want to have sex, he pinned her to the floor.
“I didn’t intentionally try to do this,” she said.
Chrystul said she met Volar when she was 16 after he responded to an advertisement she had posted on Backpage.com. She needed money for snacks and school notebooks and Volar was the first to respond, she said.
Grace said the Chicago Community Bond Fund works with defense committees and support groups for victims of trafficking and sexual abuse who have been “further harmed by prosecution.” The group has posted bond for eight other women in similar circumstances, she said.
“The state has failed to protect Chrystul and others who are disproportionately black women,” Grace said.
Kizer’s bond was originally set at $1 million. Judge David Wilk lowered the bond to $400,000 in February.
If convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, Kizer faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison, but a judge could set a parole eligibility date.