RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Attorneys for a former police officer who served prison time for killing a black teenager have argued his appeal before the Supreme Court of Virginia.
News outlets report the court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Stephen Rankin. The ex-Portsmouth police officer, who is white, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2015 shooting of William Chapman II. The unarmed 18-year-old was suspected of shoplifting when he was shot outside a Walmart.
The justices have the option of ordering a new trial.
Defense attorney James Broccoletti says the jury was unfairly made aware of a 2011 fatal shooting in which Rankin was cleared by a judge.
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A spokesman for prosecutor Stephanie Morales declined to comment.
Chapman’s cousin Earl Lewis says his family believes Rankin’s conviction should be affirmed.