Trial for former Portsmouth officer charged with murder delayed until March

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Portsmouth, Va. – A motions hearing was held Tuesday for Stephen Rankin, the former Portsmouth Police officer facing murder charges for the April 2015 death of 18-year-old William Chapman.

Stephen D. Rankin

Stephen D. Rankin

Rankin was charged with 1st Degree Murder after he shot and killed Chapman during a confrontation in the Portsmouth Walmart parking lot. He was fired from the Portsmouth Police Department on September 3rd. The following day, he was granted a $75,000 bond and released from jail.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the judge granted the defense’s motion to allow their own experts to test a Taser that had come into question recently.

According to the officer’s attorney, the Taser was recording when the confrontation turned into gunfire. However, the crucial few seconds during the shooting are nowhere to be found.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales wrote in a court document that the Taser video was “corrupt” and that the gap in recording was not because the evidence was “edited or manipulated.”

In granting the defense’s motion, the judge also agreed to delay the trail, at the defense attorney’s request, so that the Taser could be properly examined.

The trial was originally scheduled to begin in February. It will now start in March.

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