Victim’s school records may be allowed in trial for Portsmouth officer charged with murder

Posted at 3:57 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 17:38:47-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A former Portsmouth Police Officer charged in the shooting death of a teen appeared in court Thursday for a motions hearing.

Stephen D. Rankin

Stephen D. Rankin

Stephen Rankin shot and killed 18-year-old William Chapman in a confrontation at a Walmart parking lot on April 22, 2015.

During Thursday’s hearing, a judge ruled that the defense can see Chapman’s high school disciplinary records from the ninth to eleventh grades. The judge will review the records before determining if they are admissible.

The records will show Chapman’s “violent, aggressive, turbulent nature,” according to defense lawyers. “We are basically showing a history, so to speak, of this type of conduct which is in conformity with what he did the day of the incident,” said Nicole Belote, one of Rankin’s lawyers.

Rankin is charged with first degree murder. His attorneys say they definitely plan to use a self-defense argument.

Outside of court, Chapman’s family  told reporters “his past is his past,” but not a reason for him to be killed. “William Chapman’s character was not a part of all this,” said Earl Lewis, family spokesman. “He was the victim.”

The trial is scheduled to begin in late July.


Click here for previous coverage on Stephen Rankin’s trial

Timeline of the shooting death of William Chapman