KENOSHA — The woman accused of killing a Kenosha man she says trafficked her as a teenager got a green light for a new defense strategy.
Chrystul Kizer was charged in 2018 with killing Randall Volar and setting his home on fire. She was 17.
On Wednesday an appeals court ruled Kizer can now tap into the state's affirmative defense law, which means she can now try to make the case that her actions could have been a "direct result" of human trafficking.
Kizer told the Washington Post in 2019 she acted in self-defense and claimed Volar had trafficked her.
In the criminal complaint, Kizer said told investigators, "she could not leave without being blocked and she believed that Mr. Volar might jump out at her so she shot him."
The district attorney's office said it was working on a case against Volar at the time of his death.
In 2018, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley told TMJ4 about a social media post from Kizer he said showed she planned the crime.
In a 2019 Facebook post, District Attorney Michael Graveley wrote Kizer "never indicated that she was trafficked by Volar," and wrote they met "on backpage and he paid her for sex."
Kizer is no longer behind bars. Last year a Chicago-based aid group posted her $400,000 bond. She had spent almost two years in the Kenosha County Jail.
A status conference for the case is scheduled for June 25 in Kenosha County Court.
TMJ4 News reached out to some of Kizer's attorneys but did not hear back.
Efforts to reach the Volar family were unsuccessful.
A spokesperson for the county said Graveley does not have any comment.
Chandra Cooper is the CEO of Grateful Girls, Inc., a social services agency for women and girls who are victimized by human trafficking.
From an advocacy point of view, she said the court's decision is a "great milestone."
"Sometimes we're not looking at the victims, as they're truly being victims," Cooper said. "And sometimes when you're victims, and you're traumatized, stories end up like the Chrystul Kizer story. That was a lot of trauma involved for her to get to that point."
Cooper said victims are manipulated and enticed, and parents and kids should try to get involved in awareness prevention.
"Parents have to ask their children who they are talking to on their cell phones and on their iPads, parents have to go and look and see who you're communicating with on your computers," Cooper said. "Because if we don't do those kinds of things in today's world, and what's out here, you just don't know if your child is going to be a victim."