Court to hear ex-police officer’s appeal in teen’s shooting

In this image made from a video, former police officer Stephen Rankin listens to the proceedings after the verdict was read Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, in Portsmouth, Va. A jury convicted Rankin of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man who had been accused of shoplifting. (The Virginian-Pilot via AP, Pool)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Supreme Court of Virginia has agreed to hear an appeal by a former Virginia police officer sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager suspected of shoplifting.

Portsmouth officer Stephen Rankin was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2015 shooting of William Chapman II outside a Walmart.

Prosecutors said Rankin, who is white, killed the 18-year-old Chapman “willfully, deliberately and with premeditation.”

The Court of Appeals affirmed Rankin’s conviction in April. But Rankin says the jury was unfairly made aware of a previous fatal shooting as officer, a case that did not result in charges. On Tuesday, the state’s top court agreed to hear his appeal of his conviction for shooting Chapman.

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