#sayhername: The Story of Chrystul Kizer
Updated: Jul 20, 2020
Prior to COVID and the newest cases of systemic racism, we were battling another pandemic. Sex trafficking of young women (and men) was a national headline almost daily. We were guarding our children and ourselves when we went to the store. We were making sure not to park too close to suspicious looking vans. We were also becoming more aware of stories of those who defended themselves to save their lives only to be punished for it. After hearing the story of Cyntoia Brown we hoped that other girls would no longer be facing jail sentences for coming to their own defense. Sadly, that is not the case. Meet Chrystul Kizer.
Chrystul Kizer is 19 years old and facing life in prison for killing her abuser Randall Volar. She is being charged with arson and premeditated homicide. Recently the Chicago Community Bail Fund along with the Milwaukee Freedom Fund, paid $400k to have her released on bond. Supporters are asking that the charges be dropped.
Chrystul met Volar at 16 years old on backpage.com (shut down in 2018), a website known for its involvement in sex trafficking. Volar began giving Chrystul money and gifts in exchange for sex and evolved into “arranging for her to meet up with other men in hotels’, according to her interview with the Washington Post. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/local/child-sex-trafficking-murder/)
On the night of the incident in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Volar (34 years old) sent and Uber to pick up Chrystul and bring her to his home. She spent several hours there before she shot him twice in the head and setting the house on fire. She then fled in his vehicle. In her statement she describes being pinned to the floor, “I didn’t intentionally do this”.
At the time of his death Volar was already being investigated for child pornography and sex trafficking. He was arrested in February 2018 after a 15-year-old called police stating that she had been drugged and she believed he was going to kill her. He was taken into custody on February 22, 2018 after a search of his home resulted in finding evidence including laptops, hard drives, and women’s underwear were taken. He was charged with child enticement, using a computer to facilitate child sex crimes, and second-degree sexual assault of a child. He was released on the same day.
The Kenosha County District Attorney, Michael Graveley, believes Chrystul’s case should be prosecuted as premeditated murder because of texts and social media posts written prior to the incident saying she was going to get a BMW and planning when and how to do it. On June 8th she posted a picture of the pistol. According to Graveley, it is now up to a jury.
Prosecutors are also attempting to keep the Defense from using Wisconsin’s “affirmative defense” law which states that a sex trafficking victim can be acquitted of crimes committed while being trafficked. According to them since the murder was premeditated, she was not defending herself. They are also stating that her story lacks credibility because of changes she made to her story as well as other text messages referring to drug deals and car thefts. It is believed that she was just mad because Volar was allegedly trying to cut her off.
Chrystul’s supporters argue that she is a victim of sex trafficking and acted in self-defense. Santera Matthews, an organizer part of the Chrystul Kizer Self Defense Committee (https://www.facebook.com/freechrystul/), stated in an interview with the NY Times, “People believe she is a survivor, and that she was punished for surviving.”
For more information on this case please read the Washington Post article referenced above where you can also see Chrystul speak for herself. If you would like to get more involved, please visit these links:
Sign the Petition on Change.org
Chrystul Kizer Self Defense Committee
To donate, follow the link to the GoFundMe page created by her mother Devore Taylor:
Call/email Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley to demand he drop
all charges against Chrystul.
For more resources and updates on Chrystul Kizer go to:
Author: Kierstin Tonic
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Mompreneur,
Novice Cigar Aficionado,
Located in Willingboro, NJ