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Trial date for former Portsmouth officer charged with murder set for February

Posted at 2:32 PM, Sep 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 17:39:39-04

Portsmouth, Va. - Former Portsmouth Police officer Stephen Rankin will go to trial on February 22nd for the murder of 18-year-old William Chapman.

Rankin appeared in court Thursday morning so his attorney and the Commonwealth could set the trial date.

He was arrested in early September on first-degree murder and firearm charges for shooting and killing Chapman during a fight on April 22nd in the Portsmouth Walmart parking lot.

A witness told NewsChannel 3 the day of the shooting that it looked like Rankin was attempting to arrest Chapman. He said Chapman knocked a taser out of this hand, Rankin stepped back, they fought, then Chapman lunged at him.

An autopsy report shows that Rankin shot Chapman in the chest and face, that Chapman was not drinking or using drugs at the time, and that his pant pockets were turned inside out.

Rankin is currently out on $75,000 bond and is not allowed to have any guns in his home, but his wife is allowed to have them.

He was sent a letter after his arrest that he would be fired from his job if he didn't quit in five days.

When we asked his attorney Nicole Belote if he quit or was fired, she would only say they are still deciding where to go from here.

We also asked her if she's sticking to her statement that Rankin "acted appropriately."

Her response... "Absolutely."

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