A Montgomery County District Court judge on Monday ordered a man charged with killing a county deputy sheriff more than 50 years ago to be held without bond.
Larry David Becker (also known as Larry Smith), now 71, of Little Falls, N.Y., was interviewed by Montgomery County police earlier this month and confessed to killing Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Cpt. James Tappen Hall in October 1971, according to county police.
According to authorities, Hall was working at the Manor Country Club on Carrolton Road in Aspen Hill the night of Oct. 23, 1971, when he interrupted a residential burglary in progress. Police were called to the club around 10:40 p.m. and found Hall suffering from a gunshot wound. He died of his injuries at a local hospital three days later.
Attempts through the years to track down Hall’s killer were unsuccessful, and the case eventually went cold. In October 2021, which marked the 50th anniversary of the case, detectives from the county police department’s cold case unit reopened the investigation, eventually determining that Becker had begun using the name “Smith” around 1975, and was living in Little Falls, N.Y.
Two detectives from the cold case unit interviewed Becker on Sept. 1, and he admitted to “accidentally” shooting Hall, and asked investigators to apologize to Hall’s family on his behalf, according to charging documents. Detectives interviewed Becker after seeing a tape from 1973, in which Becker admitted to witnessing the shooting of Hall, and recalled specific details that had not been released to the public. Although authorities interviewed Becker in 1973, he was not considered a suspect.
Police announced Becker’s arrest last week, and court records indicate a warrant for Becker’s extradition to Montgomery County was served Sept. 9. He was charged with first-degree murder. On Monday, District Court Judge Aileen Oliver ordered Becker to be held without bond, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Becker is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Oct. 7. Attorney information for Becker was not listed as of Monday afternoon.
Becker could face a maximum penalty of life in prison, according to State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
Dan Schere can be reached at email@example.com