A 19-year-old woman in Wisconsin faces a life sentence for allegedly murdering a man in Kenosha last year, and the case is generating national attention for its unusual circumstances. The crime itself was a brutal one, as ABC News recounts. Randall Volar, 34, was shot twice in the head in his home, which was then set on fire. The reason for the national interest? At the time of his death, Volar was under investigation for sexual conduct with underage girls; accused killer Chrystul Kizer, then 17, says she had been one of his victims (she alleges he sold her to other men, too). The details have echoes of the high-profile Cyntoia Brown case. Coverage:
- Her defense: Kizer's attorneys say she should be able to use a state "affirmative defense" law that protects sex-trafficking victims. But earlier this month, a judge rejected that option, reports the Washington Post in a deep dive into the case. "The court is satisfied that a blanket affirmative defense to all acts leads to an absurd result," said the judge.
- Premeditated? Prosecutors say they can show that Kizer planned the murder in advance then bragged about it later on social media after stealing Volar's BMW. They say she posted an image of herself from Kizer's home the night of the killing and captioned it, "My Mug Shot." But in a series of interviews with the Post, Kizer denies premeditation. She said she killed Volar when he tried to rape her that night while they were hanging out and watching movies. "I didn't intentionally try to do this."
- Famous comparison: The case is drawing comparison to that of Brown, a victim of childhood sex trafficking who was granted clemency and released from prison after 15 years for killing a man as a teenager. "If you care about Cyntoia Brown, you should know Chrystul Kizer's name," declares a headline at Refinery29, which explores the similarities.
- Volar's history: He first came to police attention about four months before his death, when a 15-year-old girl called 911 and accused Volar of drugging her and threatening to kill her, reports the Kenosha News. Police found the girl wandering in a daze near Volar's home, wearing only a bra and an unzipped coat. Like Kizer, she told police she met him on Backpage.com, and she says he knew she was underage. (Kizer says she first met Volar at age 16.) Investigators confiscated child pornography and videos of Volar having sex with multiple underage girls, including Kizer, say her attorneys.
- Petition: A Change.org petition calling for charges to be dropped against Kizer has been signed by nearly 10,000 people. Her trial is set to begin in March.
(Cyntoia Brown is now married