The Wisconsin Supreme Court will review an appellate court decision that opened the door for Chrystul Kizer to use an affirmative defense while fighting a murder charge for the death of a man who prosecutors admit had been preying on Kizer and other underage girls.
Kizer is charged with first-degree intentional homicide for the June 2018 death of Randall Volar III, a 34-year-old Kenosha man. Kizer was 17 at the time she was charged, accused of shooting Volar in the head, then setting his house on fire.
Prosecutors have argued that Kizer’s motive in killing Volar was theft. Her supporters, however, believe Kizer was defending herself from a trafficker, and her attorneys hope to use an affirmative defense included in state statute for victims of sex trafficking.
Whether her defense team will be allowed to pursue that line of defense is the subject of the Wisconsin Supreme Court review. The affirmative defense has never been used in a homicide case in the state.
Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge David Wilk previously had ruled that Kizer could not use the affirmative defense in a homicide case.
But the District II Court of Appeals overturned Wilk, ruling that Kizer may be able to use the defense if she is able to show her actions were a direct result of the trafficking she experienced. At trial, the defense, if allowed, would be similar to a self-defense argument.
The Supreme Court will not review that decision based on an appeal from the state. Rather, the court is asking the state and defense to file briefs in support of their arguments over the next two months.
At the time of his death, Volar was under investigation for sex trafficking underage girls. Kenosha Police had served a warrant on Volar’s home and seized electronics that showed he had taken video of himself having sex with minors, including Kizer. Volar had been arrested during the investigation, but he was released as detectives continued to work on the case.
Kizer, of Milwaukee, allegedly met Volar through an advertisement on Backpage, a now-defunct website for sex marketing. She has alleged that Volar sexually abused her and was trafficking her to other men. Prosecutors have acknowledged in court that Volar was sexually abusing teenage girls and would likely have been charged with child sex assault had he not been killed.
While the appeals of the affirmative defense issue are pending, the prosecution has been on hold, and no trial date has been set.
Kizer has been free on bond since June 2020 after the Chicago Community Bond Fund, with help from other supporters, posted her $400,000 bond.
Chrystul Kizer, left, appears in Kenosha County Circuit Court on June 25 for a status hearing. Kizer was 17 when she was charged in June 2018 with first-degree intentional homicide, arson and auto theft in the death of Randall Volar III. Defense attorney Gregory Holdahl is next to her.