Man confesses to 51-year-old murder of Maryland police officer

Maryland Police Department said Wednesday detectives cracked the 51-year-old cold case murder of a co-worker.

Larry David Smith, also known as Larry David Becker, was arrested last week in the 1971 killing of Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff James Tappen Hall.

“The murder of Deputy Special Sheriff Captain James Tappen Hall was the single and oldest unsolved murder of a Montgomery County police officer,” Chief Marcus Jones said at a news conference. “It brings a tremendous sense of relief.”

Hall was working part-time as security for the Manor Country Club in October 1971 when he became aware of a possible home burglary.

The 53-year-old officer was spotted face down in the club’s parking lot with a gunshot wound. He was taken to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries three days later.

Police were unable to track down Hall’s killer, and the case went cold until investigators decided to open it on the 50th anniversary of the murder in 2021.

Deputy Special Sheriff Captain James Hall
Deputy Special Sheriff Captain James Hall was assassinated in 1971 at the age of 53.
Montgomery County Police Department via AP
James Hall and his wife cut a cake.
Hall’s murder was the oldest unsolved homicide in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County Police Department via AP

Detectives reviewed old files and witness interviews until they narrowed the search down to Smith, who had been questioned in 1973 but never named a suspect.

Officials said Smith took the opportunity to give up the Becker name and move to Little Falls, New York, where he has lived for over 45 years.

Smith was interviewed on September 1 and admitted to the murder. He was arrested later that day.

Larry David Smith mug shot.
Larry David Smith was questioned by police in 1973 but never named as a suspect.
Montgomery County Police Department via AP
Larry David Smith mug shot.
Smith moved to Little Falls in New York and changed his name.
Montgomery County Police Department via AP

“We are so happy,” said Hall’s daughter Caroline. “All I knew was that someone was out there. And I don’t want anyone to forget; If you are missing a loved one, if someone has been hurt, please don’t give up. Please follow up. The police are not giving up.”

“I never thought this case would be solved. It has been. And everyone out there who wants to be bad, remember that,” added her brother Melvine, a retired police officer.

The investigations are ongoing.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/07/man-confesses-to-51-year-old-cold-case-murder-of-maryland-cop/ Man confesses to 51-year-old murder of Maryland police officer

JACLYN DIAZ

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