Ex-officer released, still appealing manslaughter conviction

In an undated image from video, former Portsmouth, Va. police officer Stephen Rankin sits in court in Portsmouth, Va. Rankin is charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the April 2015 death of 18-year-old William Chapman II in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Portsmouth, Va. Rankin's trial on charges of first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony is scheduled to begin Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (WVEC TV via AP, Pool)

DILLWYN, Va. (AP) — A former Virginia police officer has been released from prison after serving more than two years for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager.

Virginia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Kinney said Stephen Rankin was released Monday from the Dillwyn Correctional Center.

But Rankin’s journey through the legal system isn’t over. Virginia’s Supreme Court agreed in late October to hear Rankin’s appeal of his voluntary manslaughter conviction.

Rankin shot and killed 18-year-old William Chapman II outside a Walmart in Portsmouth in 2015. The teen was suspected of shoplifting. Prosecutors said Rankin, who is white, killed Chapman “willfully, deliberately and with premeditation.”

An appeals court affirmed Rankin’s conviction in April. Rankin says it wasn’t fair that the jury was told of a previous on-duty fatal shooting. That shooting didn’t result in charges.

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