Cyntoia Brown Long is letting her stance be known in the case of Chrystul Kizer, an alleged child sex trafficking victim who faces life in prison fo killing Randy Volar.
Long hopped on Instagram in the early hours of Friday with a picture of herself wearing a hoodie that reads “Justice 4 Chrystul Kizer.”
According to the Washington Post, Kizer met Volar when she was 16 and he was 33 years old. According to Chrystul’s testimonies and investigations from authorities, Volar sexually abused Chrystul multiple times and filmed it without her knowing. She was one of many.
Back in February 2018, cops arrested Volar on charges, including child sexual assault, but they let him go without bail. Volar, who is white, stayed free for three months, even after authorities obtained evidence that he was abusing about a dozen underage Black girls.
Volar stayed alive until Chrystul, then 17, went to his house one evening in June and allegedly shot him in the head twice. Police claim she also lit his body on fire and fled in his car. A few days later, she made a confession and District Attorney Michael Graveley, whose office was aware about the evidence against Volar but held off on prosecuting him, charged Chrystul with arson and first-degree intentional homicide, an offense that carries a mandatory life sentence in Wisconsin.
Gravely believes Chrystul’s crimes were premeditated and text message evidence shows that she intended to murder Volar so she could steal his BMW. Prosecutors also say Chrystul sent a Facebook message to a friend a few days before the crime that read, “I’m finna get a bmw.” Her friend questioned when and Chrystul replied, “Soon.”
Chrystul, now 19, argues that she was defending herself when she allegedly killed Volar. “I didn’t intentionally try to do this,” she said. Chrystul says that when she told Volar that she didn’t want to do anything sexual that night, he pinned her to the floor. “I tried to get up, to get away from him but I had tripped, and I fell on the floor, and he had got on top of me,” she said. “And he was trying to like, rip my pants off, my jeans that I had on.” Chrystul then says she tried to wiggle to get away. She says she doesn’t recall going to get the pistol, which her boyfriend at the time gave her, but she remembers the sound it made. “Like a pop. A high pop,” she said. “I started to panic.”
“Kizer said that she watches the show Criminal Minds, and she decided to make a fire,” an account of her interview says. “Kizer said she poured red liquor everywhere … grabbed tissue or toilet paper and started the fire.”
Chrystul claims she doesn’t remember the fire either. She also said Volar intended to give her a laptop and a new car for her 18th birthday so that’s why she took them. She lied to detectives when she was first apprehended, but then finally confessed with her current account. She said she lied to detectives at first because she was scared.
Chrystul says she met Volar through a Backpage.com ad she made to get money. Chrystul’s life was quite hectic up to that point. She came to Milwaukee with her three siblings and her mom, who was fleeing an abusive boyfriend. Chrystul also had a physically abusive boyfriend at the time, Delane Nelson. Meanwhile, she would see Volar frequently and he would shower her with gifts, shopping trips and money that she could share with her sisters. “He was the only friend that I actually had,” she said.
However, soon Volar became more demanding with the type of sex he wanted and Chrystul says when she tried to call it quits, Volar sent her a death threat. Chrystul even said that Volar would sell her through Backpage.com to other people. He would take her to hotels in Milwaukee, where men his age or older would spend 30 minutes with Chrystul and she gave all the money she received to Volar.
Chrystul’s case resembles the case of Cyntoia Brown Long, who was serving a life sentence for killing and defending herself against a 43-year-old man, Johnny Mitchell Allen, soliciting her for sex when she was only 16. Brown Long had a turbulent coming-of-age as well, including being raped as an adolescent and being forced into child sex trafficking by her boyfriend at the time. Thanks to the work of activists, a social media campaign, and clemency granted by then-Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Cyntoia was released from prison back in August at age 31.
Most states, including Wisconsin have a law that gives sex-trafficking victims an “affirmative defense,” meaning if they can prove at trial that they committed a crime because they were being trafficked, then they can have their charges dropped. Chrystul and her public defense attempted to use this law, despite the law never having been used in a homicide or any other violent crime.
In December 2019, a judge decided that Chrystul doesn’t have access to the affirmative defense law for trafficking victims. In the judge’s view, neither would other trafficking victims charged with violent crimes. Chrystul’s lawyer intends to appeal the ruling, which could delay the jury trial for months. Meanwhile, Chyrstul remains locked up in a Wisconsin prison.
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