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A Wisconsin woman accused of fatally shooting her sexual abuser has been released on bond after multiple community groups raised enough money to pay her $400,000 bond.
Chrystul Kizer had been behind bars for almost two years awaiting trial for the 2018 death of Randall Volar III, 34 — a man authorities say had been abusing Kizer and other minor girls before he was killed.
“The police and government systems set up to protect Chrystul failed her,” said Santera Matthews, an organizer with the Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee, according to a release from the Chicago Community Bond Fund. “She has been wrongfully incarcerated in the Kenosha County Jail for nearly two years now for choosing to survive. We are elated to know she will no longer be locked in a cage simply for wanting to live.”
The $400,000 bond was raised in a joint effort by the Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee, Chicago Community Bond Fund, Milwaukee Freedom Fund, and Survived & Punished.
Sharyln Grace, the executive director of the Chicago Community Bond Fund, told The New York Times that they had been “flooded with donations over the past several weeks” after community activism surged because of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade.
Kizer, a Black woman, was just 16 years old when she first met Volar.
The relationship came to a sudden end on June 5, 2018 when Kizer allegedly shot the 34-year-old in the head and then set his house on fire before fleeing in his BMW.
Investigators later found a receipt showing that Volar had paid an Uber driver to bring the underage teen to a home that night, where they shared a pizza.
District Attorney Michael Graveley has said there is no doubt Volar, who is white, sexually assaulted Kizer and other young girls, according to The Kenosha News. Some of the sexual assaults were videotaped in videos that have now been seized by police.
At the time of his death, Volar had also been under investigation by the Kenosha Police for child trafficking and possession of child pornography.
But while Kizer has always contended that she killed Volar in self-defense, Graveley believes she planned the killing so that she could steal Volar’s BMW and has pointed to social media posts she made around the time of the killing.
Kizer told The Washington Post in 2019 that she had met Volar after she had posted an ad on Backpage.com because she needed money for snacks and school books.
She said he bought her lavish steak dinners and jewelry, gave her drugs, and complimented her appearance — but when she tried to cut him out of her life, he “started to talk violent and stuff” and threatened to kill her if she stopped seeing him.
On the night Volar died, Kizer told The Post the pair had pizza and Volar gave her drugs that made her “feel weird.” Then she said he tried to start touching her and when she resisted, he told her that she owed him.
“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.”
Kizer said she doesn’t remember firing the pistol she carried for her protection.
Grace told the Kenosha News that she feels women like Kizer who are victims are trafficking and sexual abuse are “further harmed by prosecution.”
“The state has failed to protect Chrystul and others who are disproportionately black women,” she said.
Since 2015, the Chicago Community Bond Fund has freed eight other “criminalized survivors of domestic and sexual violence” in Chicago, Grace said according to the organization’s news release.
Kizer will now be able to prepare for her upcoming trial outside of jail.
“This traumatized child, Chrystul Kizer, enticed and abused repeatedly by Randy Volar, will continue to suffer for the rest of her life. While Chrystul will never be able to erase what Mr. Volar did to her, she now has a fighting chance to assist in the preparation of her defense to these very serious charges from outside of a jail cell," Jennifer Bias, Trial Division Director at the Office of the State Public Defender, said.
At the conclusion of Chyrstul’s case, the majority of the returned money will be used to set up a national bail fund for criminalized survivors of domestic and sexual violence under the direction of Survived & Punished and housed at the National Bail Fund Network, according to the release.
A portion of the money will also be returned to the Milwaukee Freedom Fund for its ongoing bail fund.
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