Why Did Steven Goff Finally Confess To A 1990 Murder?

The Inquirer dives into Steven Goff’s surprise confession this week that he murdered 15-year-old Frederick Hart, of Galloway Township, N.J. in 1990.

“I did the crime and I’m prepared to do . . . whatever I gotta do,” Goff said at his first court appearance before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Donio in Mays Landing.

“I was prepared to enter a guilty plea right here and now,” Goff said.

The judge interrupted, “Whoa, let’s back up . . .” advising Goff he had been charged – not yet indicted – and was entitled to a lawyer.

Note: There’s almost no judge in the world that would accept a guilty plea to murder at a first hearing like that one—not until a defendant had had a chance to consult with a lawyer, anyway. In any case, Hart disappeared in 1990 and wasn’t found until 1991; his body was so badly decomposed at that point that authorities weren’t completely sure he’d been murdered until Goff’s surprising confession this week. They still don’t know why he came forward.