Cases of self-defense are usually very open and shut. Even if there is a degree of premeditation or a history of the victim being the aggressor, the case is often tossed out faster than the charges are written up. While the initial charge will make headlines in the newspaper, the acquittal is often shuffled to the later pages.
Now, Wisconsin is having to re-examine the basis for charges handed down to a sex-trafficking victim for her killing the man who trafficked her. The allegation is that Chrystul Kizer shot Randall Volar in the head, set fire to his Kenosha residence, and took his BMW back in 2018. It doesn’t seem like there is much debate on these incidents happening. However, the debate is about what happened before and during his death.
Kizer was 17 at the time of his shooting. Her side of the story is that the two met through a sex trafficking website. It was through this website that he went on to sexually assault her, and traffic her to other members of the website. The night Volar was shot, she alleges he attempted to touch her again and she shot him in response.
The lawyers representing Kizer have argued that the 2008 state law allows sex trafficking victims absolution from liability for crimes that are committed while being trafficked. Kenosha County Circuit Judge David Wilk found this argument to be wrong, and that the law would only allow for trafficking-related offenses like restraining, extortion, or slave labor.
In June, a WI appellate court overturned that decision, finding that this immunity covers any offense being committed while being trafficked. This ruling gave the state Justice Department the green light to take the court to the state Supreme Court. They, in turn, allege that the shooting was premeditated and not committed because of being trafficked.
How disturbed do these prosecutors need to be? The poor girl was clearly trafficked to others for their use at their will. There has been no argument claiming that she went along willingly, or that she wanted everything that happened to her to occur. On the contrary, they have been more than willing to concede that she was trafficked and that horrific things have happened to her.
Yet, they want to go on to say that she knew full well what she was doing. That she planned, plotted, and orchestrated this shooting. This sick and twisted argument is the result of a poorly managed justice system in WI that wants to see this girl thrown away despite all the evidence supporting that she was not capable of being in a sane state of mind during the shooting.
This kind of injustice is incredibly troubling. She was stuck in a horrific situation with no good way out. Ending this man’s life was one of those ways out. Was it a murky and unclear solution? You bet. It also meant no more of being trafficked around, being mistreated, being used, or being beaten. It gave her the hope and the means for a real life again; one she was robbed of.
Kizer has a long life ahead of her. Her story can help empower other victims to break free from the people abusing them. Instead of locking her up, she should be given her absolution as the letter of the law allows. This crime is what gave her freedom, and it gave her that breath of fresh air that allowed her to become a human again, and not just a piece of meat.