Man Indicted After DUI Video Confession
(CNN) — A grand jury in Franklin County, Ohio, indicted a driver for aggravated vehicular homicide in a deadly wrong-way collision. The suspect, Matthew Cordle, confessed in an online video that he was to blame.
His confession has been watched more than a million times on YouTube.
Now Ohio’s legal system must decide what punishment fits his crime.
The sentence for that crime ranges from two years to eight years in prison, his lawyer George S. Breitmayer III said.
“My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani,” Cordle says in the video posted last week.
In the video, he recounts how he was out with friends, drank heavily and lost control the night of June 22.
Canzani died when a wrong-way driver hit his Jeep on I-670 near Columbus, Ohio.
The video was posted on a website called “because I said I would,” which provides a forum for people to make promises to others.
Some viewers were impressed by the 22-year-old Cordle’s apparent courage and his plea, “I’m begging you, please don’t drink and drive.”
But some viewers thought the video was “a crock,” in the words of one commenter on the video site, aimed at reducing Cordle’s probable prison sentence.
Canzani’s ex-wife, Cheryl Oates, believes Cordle’s remorse is genuine.
“He said I made a huge mistake, and I’m going to take what’s coming to me,” Oates said. “You’ve got to respect him for that.”
Oates said Cordle should spend time in prison. But as a mother of two sons, she also feels pain for Cordle when she watches the video.
“It’s gut-wrenching coming from a mother looking at that young boy, and he just doesn’t understand the damage that he did,” she said.
Leniency not goal
Cordle has pledged to plead guilty and said on his video, “I’m handing the prosecution everything they need to put me away for a very long time.”
Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien said the video has not influenced him to recommend a lighter sentence.
“We had a case against him based on the evidence as I know it before the video was filmed,” he said.
Breitmayer said leniency was not the goal of Cordle’s video.
“Despite any speculation of his intentions, the video was meant to raise awareness related to the serious issues surrounding drinking and driving,” the defense lawyer said in a statement sent to CNN. “In addition, (Cordle) hopes his confession will offer the Canzanis some level of closure by avoiding any lengthy, drawn out legal proceedings.”
By Marlei Martinez and David Simpson, CNN