Chrystul Kizer, Held in Jail for 2 Years After Killing Her Alleged Abuser, Finally Set Free Thanks to Community Bond Fund

Illustration for article titled Chrystul Kizer, Held in Jail for 2 Years After Killing Her Alleged Abuser, Finally Set Free Thanks to Community Bond Fund
Photo: Sarah L. Voisin (The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old accused of killing her alleged sex trafficker in 2018, was able to step outside Kenosha County Detention Facility in Wisconsin for the first time in two years on Monday. Saddled with an oppressively high bond—originally set at $1 million, then bumped down to $400,000—Kizer had been in jail since June 2018 awaiting trial.

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As The Washington Post reports, the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which had received a flood of donations in the last month to help bail out protesters jailed in the massive, nationwide Black Lives Matter demonstrations, paid the rest of Kizer’s bail. Her family and supporters had tried to crowdfund the enormous sum for months.

Kizer is accused of killing Randall Volar, a 34-year-old white man she met through a Backpage ad when she was just 16. In an in-depth story about the case published last year, Kizer told the Post that Volar would give her cash and gifts in exchange for sex acts. Eventually, he began selling her to other men.

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In total, Volar is believed to have been sexually abusing about a dozen underage black girls, including Kizer. She said that Volar was trying to assault her at his home in June 2018 when she attempted to fight back, shooting him twice in the head. Afterward, Kizer set his house on fire and fled in his car.

At the time of his death, Kenosha police charged Volar with human trafficking and child pornography, but he remained free as the investigation into his alleged crimes continued.

District Attorney Michael Gravely, who is prosecuting the case against Kizer and fought against her having her bail lowered, said his office was determining the ages and identities of the young black girls victimized by Volar before arresting him. Gravely argues that Kizer killed Volar as part of a plan to steal his BMW. She faces charges of arson and first-degree intentional homicide.

Kizer still has no trial date set as she awaits an appeal that would determine whether she can use Wisconsin’s “affirmative defense” law, which would argue that her crime was a direct response to the abuse she experienced. According to the Post, Kizer walked out of the Kenosha jail on Monday “carrying two trash bags full of letters she has received from supporters.”

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“Chrystul was being victimized and abused by someone who was not effectively stopped by the current systems,” Sharlyn Grace, executive director of the Chicago Community Bond Fund, said in a statement. “That lack of protection from the systems we claim to keep us safe required that she act in self-defense to survive.”

Staff writer, The Root.

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DISCUSSION

Thanks for highlighting the impact of charitable organizations on the bail fund system. My friends and I have all resolved moving forward to make continuing donations to the Bail Fund Project and related local nonprofits moving forward.