Matthew Cordle, the Ohio man who posted a video confession after driving drunk and killing a 61-year-old man, pleaded guilty at a court hearing on Wednesday. According to his attorney, the 22-year-old will be charged with one count of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although he faces upwards of eight years in prison, Cordle is “at peace” with his decision, he said.
Cordle galvanized national media earlier this month when he uploaded a video entitled “I Killed a Man” – a 3-minute confession to the killing of 61-year-old Vincent Canzani, whom he struck with his Toyota Tundra on June 22. After a night of heavy drinking, he blacked out, and ended up driving on the wrong side of the Columbus, Ohio highway. According to The Huffington Post, two other cars narrowly avoided the collision.
"I can't bring Mr. Canzani back, and I can't erase what I've done, but you can still be saved, your victims can still be saved,” Cordle said in the video he submitted to the social media movement “because I said I would.”
“I’m begging you…Please don’t drink and drive,” he added.
Defense attorney Martin Midian said that his client posted the confession against legal advice. When Cordle told him about his intentions to upload the video, he asked him to wait until the prosecution brought charges. But Cordle said he wanted to “cleanse his soul” and tell Canzani’s family that he was sorry.
“He meant this. There is no self-serving element. He is concerned about raising awareness about drunk driving,"Midian said, speaking to Reuters. "He pleaded guilty to fulfill the promise he had made. He hopes it provides some sort of closure for the family of his victim.”
While Cordle indicated that his video confession would contribute significantly to his eventual sentencing, the prosecution said the case was a “slam dunk” with or without it.
"It's nonsense to think that you can beat that case, and any lawyer that told him that was trying to get a large fee on some kind of promise," Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told reporters, and added that they will seek the maximum punishment of eight and a half years in prison.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 30 people in U.S. die in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents every day. The crashes cost society more than $51 billion each year. According to the defense, Cordle’s video was not a publicity stunt or a plea for leniency, but an honest attempt “to make something good come out of a terrible, terrible situation."