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Case for former Portsmouth officer convicted of manslaughter to be heard by Supreme Court of Virginia

Posted at 10:16 AM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 16:20:08-05

RICHMOND, Va. - The Supreme Court of Virginia has granted former Portsmouth Police Officer Stephen Rankin's request to hear his case.

A jury convicted Rankin of voluntary manslaughter in the 2015 death of 18-year-old William Chapman.

Stephen D Rankin: First degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony

The hearing does not mean Rankin will get an appeal, but will determine whether he deserves a new trial. The majority of the state Supreme Court would have to vote in favor of him getting a new trial before that could happen.

A three-panel of justices recently heard from defense attorney James Broccoletti as he argued why there were errors in the trial.

Jurors in the original court case recommended that Rankin serve 2.5 years for the shooting on April 22, 2015.

On the day of the shooting, Portsmouth Police were called to an area Walmart about a suspected shoplifter. Chapman was spotted crossing the parking lot and was approached by Rankin. There was a struggle between the two and Chapman was ultimately shot and killed.

Rankin's wife released this statement to News 3 about the new development in her husband's case:

I am happy that we are moving forward on Steve’s appeal. This has been an incredibly slow process but we both believe it is the right course of action. Everyone deserves a fair trial. We will continue to fight until we are out of options.

Rankin is scheduled to be released from Dillwyn Correctional Center on November 19.

Click here for our full coverage on Chapman's death and Rankin's trial