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A Wisconsin woman accused of killing her alleged abuser when she was a teen has won an appeal to employ an “affirmative defense” law in her case.
Chrystul Kizer, 20, was 17 when she allegedly shot Randall Volar III, 34, to death before setting his home ablaze in 2018.
An appeals court sided with Kizer on Wednesday, ruling that she can now utilize the state's “affirmative defense” law in her trial, WTMJ in Milwaukee reports. That means she can now argue that her actions were a “direct result” of human trafficking. The state law was adopted in 2008.
Volar, who met Kizer when she was just 16, allegedly sexually assaulted her and other underage girls in the Milwaukee area before his death.
Kizer is awaiting trial on multiple charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a mandatory life sentence if she's convicted. She told the Washington Post in 2019 that she acted in self-defense. District Attorney Michael Graveley, meanwhile, has long contended that she plotted Volar's death.
“As district attorney, I cannot condone vigilante justice, and when presented with evidence of premeditated murder, I do not believe it is appropriate for prosecutors to weigh the value of the victim’s life,” he wrote in a statement in 2019, the Kenosha News reported.
Kizer was released last June after supporters rallied to her defense. Community groups and celebrities helped raise $400,000 for her bail after attention was drawn to her case.
“The police and government systems set up to protect Chrystul failed her,” Santera Matthews, an organizer with the Crystul Kizer Defense Committee, said in a 2020 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.”
Her case has drawn comparisons to the Cyntoia Brown, who was released from prison in 2019 after serving 15 years for murdering a man who hired her for sex when she was a teen. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian rallied for her release before her life sentence was commuted.
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