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Jury selected in murder trial for former Portsmouth officer

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The trial for a former Portsmouth Police officer charged with first degree murder began Wednesday despite repeated efforts by the defense to delay it.

Stephen Rankin was indicted on first degree murder charges for shooting and killing 18-year-old William Chapman during an incident that occurred on April 22, 2015 in the parking lot of the Walmart located at 1098 Frederick Blvd. in Portsmouth.

Jury selection was completed on Wednesday.

The selection started in courtroom 4 in the Portsmouth Courthouse.

The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said typically there are 12 jurors selected plus alternatives.  They estimated that jury selection may take a day and a half or two days, but there' s no exact time frame for this process.

Wednesday started with the judge asking questions to the potential jurors about whether or not they can be fair during this high profile case.

(Left: Stephen Rankin | Right: William Chapman)

(Left: Stephen Rankin | Right: William Chapman)

The defense attorney James Broccoletti and Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales also took turns asking questions to the potential jurors.

There were many questions. For example, have you or a loved one ever been arrested, had a positive or negative experience with law enforcement.

Potential jurors would give examples if they answered yes to the questions and then the judge would ask if they thought they could be fair and impartial during the trial.

The judge asked the potential jurors if any of them had stock in Walmart.

One man said he received a traffic ticket from Rankin when he served on the Portsmouth Police force.

Other people described good and bad experiences they've had with police.

Broccoletti asked them about their job experiences and if any had served in the armed forces.

They were asked if their lives have ever been threatened or if they had a gun pulled on them.

In August 2015, the Commonwealth's Attorney announced that they had completed their investigation into the shooting death of Chapman and announced that officials were seeking an indictment against Rankin.

In early July, a judge denied a motion to delay Rankin's trial. His attorneys entered the motion to delay because Rankin believes that the recent police shootings nationwide could impact the case.

On Tuesday, a judge denied a motion to change the venue of the trial.

News 3 will have full coverage of the trial. Updates will be posted as they become available. 

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