Judge rules that jury cannot hear about Rankin previously killing unarmed man

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A judge has ruled that the prosecutor in the case against ex-police officer Stephen Rankin, will not be allowed to inform the jury about Rankin killing another unarmed man in 2011.

Rankin previously shot and killed Kirill Denyakin while responding to a burglary call on Green Street in Olde Towne.

Part of the nine-page opinion that was released Thursday, Circuit Judge Johnny Morrison states that:

Moreover, it has been over four years since the Grand Jury was presented with the indictment charging Stephen D. Rankin with voluntary manslaughter, and returned it not a true bill, and the Commonwealth still has not presented the indictment to another Grand Jury….

While the Commonwealth contends that the 2011 shooting demonstrates intent and motive, the Defense argues, in essence, that evidence surrounding the circumstances of the 2011 shooting is not relevant as the two incidents are distinct and unrelated. Moreover, the Defense argues that such evidence is highly prejudicial to the Defendant…

See the full opinion here.

The opinion also denied the Commonwealth attorney’s request to keep other officers from appearing in court in uniform in support of Rankin.

Rankin is facing charges of first-degree murder after he allegedly shot and killed 18-year-old William Chapman in April, who was unarmed in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

The trial is set to being July 27.

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