Arrest made in 51-year-old cold case involving Montgomery County law enforcement

An arrest has been made in a 51-year-old cold case in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Captain James Tappen Hall was shot at the Manor Country Club on Carrolton Road in Rockville on Saturday, Oct. 23, 1971.

Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Captain James Tappen Hall (PHOTOS: Montgomery County Police)

Witnesses entered the Manor Country Club on the listed date around 10:40 p.m. and reported that there was a man lying face down in the south east parking lot with trauma to his head. Police and Fire Rescue responded and discovered Captain Hall suffering from a gunshot wound to his head.

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Captain Hall was transported to an area hospital where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased on Oct. 26, 1971.

Investigators believe that Captain Hall interrupted a residential burglary in progress, and for 51 years, his murder had gone unsolved.

Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Captain James Tappen Hall (PHOTO: Montgomery County Police)

In October 2021, the 50th anniversary of Captain Hall’s homicide, detectives from the Cold Case Unit decided to review the case.

Through the course of their investigation, Detective K. Leggett and Corporal L. Killen narrowed in on one person, Larry David Becker. In 1973 Becker was interviewed by investigators but had not been labeled a suspect.

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Detectives determined that around 1975, Becker began using the last name Smith, and had been living in Little Falls, New York for over 45 years.

On Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, Leggett and Killen interviewed Smith in New York. During that interview, Smith admitted to shooting Captain Hall. He was then arrested for Captain Hall’s murder.  

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Larry David Becker/Smith (PHOTO: Montgomery County Police)

Smith has waived his extradition and is expected to return to Maryland by the end of the week.  

This is an ongoing investigation and detectives are asking anyone with information regarding Larry David Smith’s involvement in this homicide, to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070 or contact Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous.   

To date, Deputy Sheriff Captain Hall’s case is the oldest cold case solved by the department.