Maryland police solve case of slain officer after 51 years


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Detectives in Maryland confirmed on Wednesday that they have made an arrest in the 51-year-old cold case murder of Captain James Tappen Hall. Photo by Montgomery County Police Department

Detectives in Maryland confirmed on Wednesday that they have made an arrest in the 51-year-old cold case murder of Captain James Tappen Hall. Photo by Montgomery County Police Department

Sept. 7 (UPI) — Detectives in Maryland have made an arrest in the 51-year-old cold case murdered officer, investigators confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Captain James Tappen Hall was found suffering from a gunshot wound, lying face down in the parking lot of a country club in Rockville, Md., the night of Oct. 23, 1971.

Hall died in hospital three days later.

Cold case detectives said Wednesday, Larry David Smith, 71, was arrested in Little Falls, N.Y., on Monday. Smith waived his extradition rights and is expected to return to Maryland by the end of the week.

Smith apparently confessed to investigators while being questioned about shooting Hall.

Investigators believe that Hall interrupted a residential burglary in progress, but are still looking for any witnesses as they attempt to piece together exactly what happened.

At the time of the murder, Smith was known as Larry David Becker. He was initially interviewed two years after Hall was killed but never classified as a suspect.

He changed his last name to Smith in 1975, and had been living in Little Falls for more than 45 years, according to police.

Cold case investigators reopened the file last October, on the 50th anniversary of Hall’s shooting. They spent a year going through old interviews and files, eventually zeroing in on Smith.

Smith’s arrest now makes the case the oldest-ever solved by the Montgomery County Police Department.



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