A Ventnor man who turned himself in for a 23-year-old murder will be sentenced today.

Steven Goff, now 41, faces 30 years in prison with 15 years of parole ineligibility for the 1990 killing of Frederick Hart, 15.

On April 1, Goff walked into the Galloway Township police station and admitted to the killing. Last month, he told the judge he was an 18-year-old "in a rage" when he stabbed Hart and left him to die in the woods behind their Galloway Township homes.

In a letter sent to a Press of Atlantic City reporter, Goff said he hopes his case inspires others responsible for unsolved killings to turn themselves in, mentioning the year-old unsolved killing of well-known Linwood veterans advocate April Kauffman and the 2006 discovery of four prostitutes found dead in Egg Harbor Township's West Atlantic City section.

"They will be judged one day for what they did," he wrote. "They should come forward now and do the best they can while they can."

Goff also said his case is a lesson to law enforcement "not to give up."

"Even myself, over the years, was shocked the case was never followed up on," he wrote. "Especially with the advent of new crime-fighting technology in cold cases. Unbeknownst to them ... if (they) would have come and talked to me as I got older, wiser, more God fearing ... I would have caved in and confessed!"

Instead, he said the investigation "just shut off like a light switch in 1992."

Goff said it took officers three hours to find the file for the case "in the basement."

Hart's family is expected to attend the sentencing today, when some will be facing the confessed killer for the first time.

"I am fearing the confrontation of my victim's family that day in court," Goff wrote. "I have been consumed with what words I could possibly say to them that day. I pray that God blesses me with some comforting words for them that day."

Contact Lynda Cohen:

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Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.