As they spoke, Sligh's girlfriend was calling 911. Soon, Sligh had handed off the phone to Cpl. Don Kellum with the Cecil County Sheriff's Office.
Over the course of a six-hour conversation with Kellum, Hoffman said that his life was over. Kellum tried to coax him out of the house, but Hoffman, a diabetic who by now had not eaten for several hours, was apparently losing consciousness and broke into a cold sweat. He would later say he could see the curtains in the room dancing around and then blacked out.
On the other end of the phone line, Kellum heard Hoffman snoring. Police rushed the house and found him asleep in bed next to his dead wife.
"He knew the day would come when this would happen because they would run out of money and she couldn't bear the burden," Kellum wrote in his report. "In my opinion, he couldn't bear the burden of her knowing that he made bad choices."
On May 18, 2004, Edward Gustav Hoffman was indicted on one count of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter.
He was assigned a public defender, Thomas Klenk, who did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
With his trial set to begin this month, Hoffman pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, the only charge prosecutors would accept. To them, his actions represented as clear a case of premeditated murder as they had ever seen.
"One can't be totally unaware of his age, his stated motive - one looks at those factors and is both troubled and puzzled," said Cecil County State's Attorney Christopher J. Eastridge. "That aside, he killed someone without legal justification or excuse. That is an action society should not condone."