Portsmouth, Va. – Former Portsmouth Police Officer Stephen Rankin appeared in court again on Tuesday where a judge granted a motion to delay the start of his murder trial. The trial was scheduled to begin in March but has now been pushed until August 16th.
Rankin was arrested in early September 2015 on first-degree murder and firearm charges for shooting and killing 18-year-old William Chapman during a fight on April 22nd in the Portsmouth Walmart parking lot.
Several other motions were filed Tuesday during the hearing, including one where the prosecution asked that police officers not be allowed to wear their uniforms in court during the trial, saying they believe it could influence the jury.
The judge did not make a ruling on the subject.
The prosecution also filed a motion for additional Taser analysis and one asking the court not to allow Rankin to discuss William Chapman’s alleged theft from Walmart.
The defense objected to the latter, saying the whole story must be told. The judge did not make a ruling.
The continuance of the trial was requested by the prosecution because they claimed that several witnesses wouldn’t be available during the original scheduled dates.
The defense said their witnesses were ready would they would not object to the request to change the trial date.
The judge granted the motion to change the trial date before adjourning the hearing. Rankin’s trial is now scheduled to begin on August 16th.