Family of teen killed by cop holds news conference ahead of sentencing

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – The family of an unarmed teenager who was fatally shot by a former Portsmouth police officer addressed the media one day before the convicted man’s sentencing date.

“Send him away, no bond. Enough is enough,” said Sallie Chapman.

In August, a jury found Stephen Rankin guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Chapman’s son, 18-year-old William Chapman.

FULL COVERAGE: Stephen Rankin Trial

The jury could have recommended a sentence of 10 years, but opted for two and a half. On Wednesday, a judge will make the final determination — only able to minimize, not maximize, the sentence.

William Chapman (Photo courtesy Chapman’s family)
William Chapman (Photo courtesy Chapman’s family)

On Tuesday, the Chapman family held a news conference at the law offices of their attorney, Jon Babineau.

They invited other mothers whose children were lost to gun violence. Among them was Gina Best, whose daughter India Kager was killed in a shoot out with Virginia Beach police.

“We as mothers are here to stand together and show solidarity and love for [Sallie] so she is not going through this by herself,” Best said.

Rankin’s family could not be reached for comment.

During the trial, the defense argued that the victim charged at Rankin before the officer pulled the trigger in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. Minutes earlier, Chapman had been suspected of shoplifting.

Former Portsmouth Police Officer Stephen Rankin.
Former Portsmouth Police Officer Stephen Rankin

Rankin’s attorneys, Nicole Belote and James Broccoletti, told 10 On Your Side Tuesday that they’ve filed a motion to set aside the verdict.

On Wednesday, they will call witnesses, and ask the judge for a reduced sentence. If that doesn’t happen, they plan to appeal.

The Chapman family said they hope for closure, but are prepared to keep fighting.

“We would continue to fight,” said Chapman family spokesperson Earl Lewis. “We would continue to fight. Every day, until he is locked behind bars.”

Last month, 10 On Your Side reported that the city of Portsmouth had agreed, in principle, to pay the Chapman family $1 million.

On Tuesday, Chapman and her attorney could not comment on the negotiations.