Man charged in Maryland deputy sheriff’s 1971 killing

Sep 7, 2022, 10:00 AM | Updated: 12:21 pm

This image provided by the Montgomery County, Md., Police Department, shows Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Capt. James Hall. Smith has been arrested on charges that he killed a law enforcement officer in Maryland more than 50 years ago, police said Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. Smith, now 71, admitted to shooting Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Captain James Tappen Hall in 1971 when police detectives interviewed Smith in New York last week, the Montgomery County Police Department said in a news release. (Montgomery County Police Department via AP)

(Montgomery County Police Department via AP)

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (AP) — A New York man has been arrested and charged with killing a law enforcement officer in Maryland more than 50 years ago, police said Wednesday.

Larry David Smith, 70, admitted to shooting Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Capt. James Tappen Hall in 1971 when police detectives interviewed him in New York last Thursday, the Montgomery County Police Department said in a news release.

Smith told detectives that he accidentally shot Hall when the deputy confronted Smith as he carried property from a residential burglary to a waiting vehicle, police said in an application for an arrest warrant. Smith said he only recently learned that Hall had died and asked the detectives to apologize to the deputy’s family for the shooting, the application says.

Hall, 53, died from a gunshot wound three days after he was found lying face down in a parking lot in Rockville, Maryland, on Oct. 23, 1971. Investigators believe Hall was off duty and working as a security guard at a country club when he interrupted a burglary at a nearby home and confronted somebody who shot him.

Smith, also known as Larry David Becker, was interviewed by investigators in 1973. He said he knew about the deputy’s killing and would talk to them “if he could receive consideration for leniency” in unrelated charges, the warrant application says. His brother told police that he overhead Smith talking about handguns and saying that he knew who owned the gun involved in the shooting, according to the application.

But the police department’s news release says Smith wasn’t labeled a suspect in Hall’s killing back then.

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department’s cold case unit reopened the investigation last year around the 50th anniversary of the deadly shooting. When they reviewed a recording of Smith’s 1973 interview, they concluded that he knew details about the killing that pointed to him as a suspect instead of just an eyewitness to the shooting, the arrest warrant application says.

The police detectives determined that Becker began using the last name Smith — the last name of his birth parents — around 1975 and had been living in Little Falls, New York, for more than 45 years, police said. Little Falls, a city with roughly 5,000 residents in New York’s Herkimer County, is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) northwest of Albany.

Smith was arrested last Thursday on a first-degree murder charge. Authorities expect to bring him back to Maryland by the end of this week.

The department says Hall’s killing is the oldest cold case that it has ever solved.

Police Chief Marcus Jones said the department is “pleased to bring justice” to Hall’s family.

“This shows you the impact that we never forget,” Jones said at a news conference.

Hall’s daughter, Carolyn Hall Philo, thanked investigators for their work on the case.

“I just knew somebody was out there,” she said.

___

This story has corrected Smith’s age to 70 years old, not 71.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

NC judge suspends sheriff taped disparaging Black employees

WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge has suspended a sheriff who was recorded calling Black employees by derogatory names and saying they should be fired. The suspension of Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene on Tuesday comes after District Attorney Jon David sought his removal alleging that Greene engaged in racial profiling of employees […]
8 hours ago
Joseph Morrison, center back, appears before Jackson Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson for trial in a cou...
Associated Press

3 accused of assisting governor kidnapping plot stand trial

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of three men charged in connection with a 2020 anti-government plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were told Wednesday about the formation and actions of a paramilitary group the government says trained as part of the scheme. Assistant Attorney General Bill Rollstin presented the Wolverine Watchmen […]
8 hours ago
This photo, provided by the New York City Department of Transportation shows Britain's Princess Ann...
Associated Press

Princess Anne takes the Staten Island ferry to Manhattan

NEW YORK (AP) — Princess Anne took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry during a visit to New York City. The sister of Britain’s King Charles III was ushered to the ferry’s pilothouse as the Manhattan-bound ship crossed the New York Harbor on Tuesday escorted by police boats. A fireboat greeted the ferry with […]
8 hours ago
FILE - This Nov. 8, 2018 file photo shows a page from the 2019 U.S. Medicare Handbook in Washington...
Associated Press

Exercise caution with zero-premium Medicare Advantage plans

Health insurers will flood the Medicare Advantage market again this fall with enticing offers for plans that have no monthly price tag. The number of so-called zero-premium plans has been growing for years, and they can appeal to retirees who live on fixed incomes. Experts say shoppers should exercise caution, because they might find better […]
8 hours ago
FILE - Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks to the crowd as she presents her anticipated memoir ...
Associated Press

Winfrey, Letterman among moderators for Michelle Obama tour

NEW YORK (AP) — Oprah Winfrey, David Letterman and Ellen DeGeneres are among the celebrity moderators joining former first lady Michelle Obama on tour for her upcoming book, “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” Other guests include Conan O’Brien, Tracee Ellis Ross, journalists Gayle King and Michelle Norris, “Today” show host Hoda Kotb, […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Experts: Russia finding new ways to spread propaganda videos

Russia has devised yet another way to spread disinformation about its invasion of Ukraine, using digital tricks that allow its war propaganda videos to evade restrictions imposed by governments and tech companies. Accounts linked to Russian state-controlled media have used the new method to spread dozens of videos in 18 different languages, all without leaving […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Man charged in Maryland deputy sheriff’s 1971 killing