Guilt-ridden man confesses to killing teen in 1990

Steven L. Goff, 41, of Ventnor, wipes his eyes as he makes a first appearance in court April 2, 2013 before Superior Court Judge Michael A. Donio, after being charged with murder for the 1990 slaying of Frederick Hart of Galloway. ( TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer )
Steven L. Goff, 41, of Ventnor, wipes his eyes as he makes a first appearance in court April 2, 2013 before Superior Court Judge Michael A. Donio, after being charged with murder for the 1990 slaying of Frederick Hart of Galloway. ( TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer )
Posted: April 03, 2013

When the body of 15-year-old Frederick Hart was found 19 months after he was reported missing in May 1990, his remains were so decomposed officials could not determine a cause of death.

But now, 23 years later, the mystery of the Galloway Township boy's death may be solved.

On Monday, Steven L. Goff, 41, of Ventnor, walked into the township's Police Department and confessed to killing Hart, officials said. Goff, who was 18 at the time, said he had stabbed the boy to death.

At his initial court appearance Tuesday, Goff wanted to plead guilty but Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Donio prevented him from doing so without legal counsel.

"I did the crime and I'm prepared to do the time," said Goff, who wept at times during the hearing.

Officials said Goff is charged with stabbing Hart multiple times with a knife in a wooded area behind the Clubs Condominiums on May 7, 1990, the day before he was reported missing.

In December 1991, a hunter discovered Hart's remains in the woods.

The cause of death had never been determined because, authorities said, the remains had decomposed.

Officials did not disclose a motive.

After the hearing, Goff was returned to the Atlantic County Justice Facility in lieu of bail set at a $1 million cash.


Contact staff writer Barbara Boyer at (856) 779-3838, bboyer@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @BBBoyer.

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