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Arrest made in 51-year-old cold case involving Md. officer

Police said they believed Capt. James Tappen Hall had interrupted a burglary in progress while working as a part-time security guard


Photo/Montgomery County Police

By Sarah Calams

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — On October 23, 1971, Montgomery County Special Deputy Sheriff Capt. James Tappen Hall was fatally shot in the head at a country club. His murder had gone unsolved for 51 years, but an arrest has finally been made.

During the initial investigation, police said they believed Hall had interrupted a burglary in progress when he was shot, reported. Hall was working at the country club as a part-time security guard.

Cold Case Unit Detective K. Leggett and Corporal L. Killen narrowed down their suspect list to one: Larry David Becker. Becker had been interviewed in 1973, but was not labeled as a suspect.

On Sept. 1, 2022, Leggett and Killen interviewed Becker, where he admitted to shooting to Hall. He was arrested and charged with Hall’s murder. Becker, who had been living in New York under a different last name, is expected to return to Maryland by the end of the week.

Hall’s case is the oldest cold case solved by the department, according to the department’s press release.