PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- A three-judge panel granted former police officer Stephen Rankin a petition for appeal in his conviction for the killing of a suspected shoplifter.

A jury found Rankin guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter after he shot and killed William Chapman outside Walmart in Midtown Portsmouth in April 2015.


Rankin's attorney, James Broccoletti, told 13News Now Tuesday that the appeal was granted based on two issues:

  • Failure to allow an expert to testify on behalf of Ranking during his trial
  • Failure to investigate claims of jury tampering

The decision of the three-judge panel possibly clears the way for a new trial.

Commonwealths' Attorney, Stephanie N. MOrales made this statement:

The fact that an appellate court agrees to hear a case is not an indication that the court plans to overturn a conviction. Appellate courts regularly agree to hear criminal cases, only to uphold the conviction later. The two issues the court will hear have one of the strictest appellate review standards known to the law, and we hope that the court will affirm the Defendant’s conviction