PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A circuit court judge ruled Thursday that William Chapman’s high school disciplinary records can be reviewed by attorneys.
“Those records, we believe, have information in them that would allow us to ultimately speak to people and collect evidence that would go to the violent, aggressive, or turbulent nature,” defense attorney Nicole Belote said of William Chapman.
Former Portsmouth police officer Stephen Rankin is charged with murder after shooting and killing 18-year-old William Chapman in a Walmart parking lot off Fredrick Boulevard after suspecting him of shoplifting.
The defense plans to call witnesses during the trial who will testify that Rankin shot Chapman in self-defense. The school disciplinary records could help them build their case.
“We are basically showing a history, so to speak, of this type of conduct, which is in conformity with what he did on the day of the incident,” Belote explained.
While Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales argued the request to review records was no more than a ‘fishing expedition’ the judge ultimately ruled against her motion to quash the records.
“Wlliam Chapman’s background does not make him a bad person. He was young, he grew up, he didn’t get an opportunity to become a man because Rankin shot him,” said Chapman family spokesman Earl Lewis.
The trial is scheduled to take place in August and expected to last about a week.