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Advocates are demanding justice for a Wisconsin woman who killed her sex trafficker and rapist following the recent acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse.
Rittenhouse, 18, was found not guilty on all charges earlier this month after his defense maintained that he had acted in self-defense when he killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, last year. Their deaths occurred after Rittenhouse attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the 2020 police shooting of Black man Jacob Blake. He was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle when he clashed with protesters.
During his trial, Rittenhouse testified that he “didn’t do anything wrong” and that he “defended” himself. Meanwhile, the prosecution unsuccessfully argued that he was the aggressor.
Now, advocates for Chrystul Kizer, a Black sex trafficking victim, are demanding the same consideration for Kizer, who was 17-years-old when she killed Kenosha resident Randall Volar, 34. At the time of his death, Volar was awaiting trial for human trafficking. Kenosha law enforcement had seized photos and digital evidence that showed Volar sexually assaulting a series of young Black women and advertising them for sex. When Kizer was first arrested and charged with his murder, law enforcement initially withheld this evidence from her public defender.
Kizer claims that she shot Volar in self-defense before setting his home ablaze in 2018. She is still awaiting trial.
Kizer faces multiple felony charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, in Volar's death. Her defense maintains that the killing happened spontaneously after she endured years of abuse, NBC News reports.
A group of demonstrators gathered at Kenosha’s Civic Center Park to shine a light on Kizer’s case earlier this month while simultaneously protesting the Rittenhouse verdict.
"We've seen that Rittenhouse can get away with premeditated murder. Chrystul Kizer should be able to actually defend herself," protestor and Kenosha resident Jess Singh told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In June, an appeals court granted Kizer the right to use the "affirmative" defense in her case. The state Supreme Court is currently reviewing that decision. If accepted for court, then this trial will be the first in which this particular self-defense argument will be used in a Wisconsin murder trial, according to NPR. It would also mean that Kizer could argue that her actions were a “direct result” of human trafficking. Sex-trafficking victims have the option of an "affirmative" defense in Wisconsin, which means that if they committed a crime while being trafficked, they are able to mitigate certain charges.
Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley previously did not allow evidence to support the use of such a defense for Kizer. He has long contended that she plotted Volar's death.
Volar, who met Kizer when she was just 16, sexually assaulted her and other underage girls he brought to Kenosha from the Milwaukee area before his death.
Kizer spent two years in jail awaiting trial before she was was released in 2020 when multiple community groups raised enough money to pay her $400,000 bond. Rittenhouse spent 87 days in jail before his lawyers helped raise money for his $2 million bond.
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