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Over 50 years later | 71-year-old arrested for murder of Montgomery Co. sheriff captain

As of Sept. 2022, Deputy Sheriff Captain Hall’s case is the oldest cold case solved by the Montgomery County Department of Police.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — For more than half a century, Carolyn Philo has pushed for answers in her dad's murder. Now, she's getting some sense of closure. 

Montgomery County Police announced Wednesday that they had arrested a 71-year-old man in New York on murder charges in the death of Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Captain James Tappen Hall. 

On the night of Oct. 23, 1971, police officers were called to the Manor Country Club, located in Rockville, after receiving a report that a man was lying face down in the parking lot. At the scene, Hall was found suffering from a gunshot wound. He died three days later in the hospital due to his injuries.

It is believed the fatal shooting happened in response to Hall interrupting a residential burglary in progress.

Detectives with the Cold Case unit decided to review the case with fresh eyes in Oct. 2021, on the 50th anniversary of the homicide. For almost a year, case files, recordings, and interviewed witnesses were reviewed which narrowed down the person of interest to one person: Larry David Smith.

Smith, also known as Larry David Becker, was interviewed in 1973 by investigators but wasn't considered a suspect. At the time, he was in his twenties and police said he had a long criminal history from the time he was an adolescent of burglary, home invasion robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He grew up with an adoptive family nearby, but had been living in the woods near the country club for some time.

Larry began to use Smith instead of Becker as a last name in 1975, and had been living in Little Falls, New York for over 45 years.

In a Sept. 2022 interview, Smith admitted to shooting Captain Hall, according to NY police, and he was served an arrest warrant charging him with murder. He will be extradited back to Maryland. 

Police say he confessed to the crime and asked investigators to relay his apology to Hall's family, according to charging documents.

Philo  said an investigator called her a few days before MCPD made their announcement. 

"He said they caught the person that murdered your dad," she said through tears. "And I just, I just cried and cried and cried." 

Philo said she hated that her father never saw his grandchildren born, to grow up and have their own children.

"It's impacted family and other law enforcement for so long," Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin said. "And it impacted the community where I grew up." 

State's Attorney John McCarthy said he expected Smith to be back in Maryland and go before a judge for bail review on a charge of first degree murder on Monday.

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

Watch Next: Watch Live: Montgomery Co. Police made an arrest in 51-year-old cold case that killed deputy sheriff

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