Defense attorneys for a teenager accused of shooting and killing a Kenosha man will get access to evidence from a police investigation into the victim, who was suspected of child sex trafficking.
Judge David Wilk ruled Thursday that the defense will have access to material from that investigation that the judge has already reviewed.
He said he received additional DVDs and written materials from the investigation Wednesday, and will decide whether the defense will receive that material as well after he reviews it.
Wilk said he believes the material is “discoverable,” meaning that the defense should have access to it in developing a defense strategy for its client.
Whether the material would be admissible in court if the case goes to trial is another matter, Wilk said, and will be argued at a later date.
Found in burning home
Chrystul Kizer was 17 when she was arrested for the June 5, 2018, shooting death of Randall Volar III.
Kizer, of Milwaukee, was alleged to have shot Volar, then set fire to his house at 7732 14th Ave.
Volar, 34, had paid for an Uber to bring Kizer to his home.
She is alleged to have stolen his car after shooting him, and it was the vehicle — abandoned in Milwaukee — that helped lead Kenosha Police to her.
After her arrest, defense attorneys learned that police had been investigating Volar for child trafficking and had searched his home and seized computers and electronic data from the house.
One of the people depicted in the materials found by police was Kizer.
Defense attorneys sought access to those investigatory materials, believing it could produce evidence that would help a self-defense claim for Kizer.
Prosecutors argued against giving the defense any evidence that did not directly involve Kizer, saying it would violate the confidentiality of child victims.
“Throughout that investigation, explicit videos and photos of multiple females were discovered. To this date, a number of those females have not been identified,” according to a state filing in response to the defense motion.
The case has captured the attention of some members of the public, including advocates for human trafficking victims.
About two dozen people, some wearing red armbands, were in court in support of Kizer. Members of that group declined comment, as did a woman who identified herself as Kizer’s mother.
Kizer’s case is being compared to that Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman who was convicted of murder for killing a man who bought her for sex when she was a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim.
Brown was sentenced to life in prison after her conviction, but in January the governor of Tennessee granted her clemency. She was pardoned and released after spending 15 years in prison.
Interview with police
The state also provided information from an interview a police detective conducted with Kizer in which which she claimed her boyfriend killed Volar.
Defense attorneys questioned the timing of that information, noting that the interview was conducted on Oct. 25 but wasn’t written until Jan. 18. It was filed with the court on Jan. 22.
“The court is aware that there has been increased community interest in this case, and community members have voiced their opinions about whether records should be provided to the defense. The disclosure of Ms. Kizer’s October interview took three months, and comes at a time when public interest in this case, and the records about Mr. Volar’s sexual abuse, is growing,” defense attorneys wrote.
They argued the report did not affect their argument that they were entitled to the evidence from the Volar investigation.
Wilk said he believed the defense was entitled to the material he had reviewed, and said he would take 45 days to review additional material from the Volar investigation that he received this week. The two sides will return to court for a status conference April 5.