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New York man charged in 1971 murder of Maryland sheriff's deputy

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Posted at 2:18 PM, Sep 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-08 16:18:21-04

An arrest has been made in the death of a Maryland sheriff's deputy who was killed 51 years ago.

On Wednesday, the Montgomery County Police Department announced that they had arrested 71-year-old Larry David Smith for the 1971 murder of Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Captain James Tappen Hall.

According to the press release, the department said that on Saturday, October 23, 1971, officers were called to the Manor Country Club after witnesses said a man was lying face down in the parking lot.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Hall had been shot. The department said that Hall was transported to a local hospital, where he later died three days after being shot.

According to the press release, the department said their cold case unit decided to review Hall's case on the 50th anniversary of his murder.

For a year, investigators combed through case files. They then narrowed their search to one suspect: Larry David Becker.

According to the press release, Becker was interviewed in 1971 by investigators but was never labeled a suspect.

Later, investigators found that in 1975, Becker changed his last name to Smith, and for the past 45 years, he lived in Little Falls, New York, police said.

On Sept. 1, investigators interviewed Smith, who later admitted that he shot Hall.

According to the Associated Press, Smith told detectives that he accidentally shot Hall when the deputy confronted him as he was carrying stolen property from residential burglary to a waiting car, according to the arrest warrant.

Police then issued an arrest warrant and charged Smith with murder, police said in the press release.

The department said Smith waived his extradition and would return to Maryland.